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Readers of this book will quickly observe that Admiral 
of the Fleet Lord Fisher has small faith in the -printed word; 
and those who have enjoyed the privilege of having "his fist 
shaken in their faces" will readily admit that the printed 
word, though faithfully taken down from his dictation, must 
lack a large measure of the power the "aroma," as he calls 
it which his personality lends to his spoken word. 

Had Lord Fisher been allowed his own way, there would 
have been no Book. Not for the first time in his career, 
the need of serving his country and his country 9 s Navy has 
over-ridden his personal feeling. These "Memories," there- 
fore, must be regarded as a compromise (" the beastliest word 
in the English language" see "The Times" of September 
<)th, 1919) between the No-Book of Lord Fisher's inclination 
and the orderly, complete Autobiography which the public 
wishes to possess. 

The book consists in the main of the author's ipsissima 
verba, dictated during the month of September, 1919. One 
or two chapters have been put together from fugitive writings 
which Lord Fisher had collected and printed (in noble and 
eloquently various type) as a gift to his friends after his 
death. The discreeter passages of the letters which he wrote 
to Lord Esher between 1903 and 1912 illustrate some por- 
tions of the life's work which caring little for the past and 
much for the future, 1 much for the idea and little for the 
fact Lord Fisher has successfully declined to describe in 
his own words. 

1 "This one thing I do, forgetting those things which we behind, and 
reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark." 
Phil, iii, 13, 14. 



^HERE is no plan nor se- 
quence! Just as the thoughts 
have arisen so have they been 
written or dictated! The spoken 
word has not been amended 
better the fragrance of the fresh 
picked flower than trying to get 
more scent 'out of it by adding 
hot water afterwards! Also it is 
more life-like to have the first 
impulse of the heart than vainly 
to endeavour after studied 
phrases! Perhaps the only curi- 
osity is that I begin my life back- 

wards and leave my birth and 
being weaned till the end! 

" The last shall be 

is good for Autobiography! 

I think a text is a good thing! 
So I adopt the following (from 
R. L. Stevenson) as being nice 
for the young ones to read what 

To be honest, to be kind, to earn 
a little and to spend a little less, to 
make upon the whole a family 
happier for his presence, to renounce 
when that shall be necessary, and not 
be embittered, to keep a few friends 
but those without capitulation^ above 
all on the same grim condition to 
keep friends with himself, here is a 
task for all that a man has of 
fortitude and delicacy. 



NOT long ago a gentleman enclosed me the manuscript 
of his book, and asked me for a preface. I had never 
heard of him. He reminded me of Mark Twain in a 
similar case the gentleman in a postscript asked Mr. 
Twain if he found fish good for the brain; he had been 
recommended it, he said. Twain replied, Yes! and he 
suggested his correspondent having whales for breakfast! 

One gentleman sent me a cheque for two thousand 
guineas, and asked me to let him have a short article, 
on any subject. I returned the cheque I had never heard 
of him either. I have had some most generous offers from 

Sir George Reid said to me: "Never write an Auto- 
biography. You only know one view of yourself others 
see you all round." But I don't see any harm in such 
"Memories" as I now indite ! In regard to Sir G. Reid's 
observation, there's one side no one else can see, and that's 
"the insider 

Nothing in this Volume in the least approaches the 
idea of a Biography. Facts illumined by letters, and the 
life divided into sections, to be filled in with the struggles 
of the ascent, seems the ideal sort of representation of a 
man's life. A friend once wrote me the requisites of a 
biographer. Three qualifications were: 

(a) Plenty of time for the job. 

(6) A keen appreciation of the work done. 

(c) A devotion to the Hero. 



And, as if it didn't so much matter, he added the biog- 
rapher should possess a high standard of literary ability. 

But yet I believe that the vindication of a man's life- 
work is almost an impossible task for even the most inti- 
mate of friends or the most assiduous and talented of 
Biographers, simply because they cannot possibly appre- 
ciate how great deeds have been belittled and ravaged by 
small contemporary men. These yelping curs made the 
most noise, as the empty barrels do! and it's only long 
afterwards that the truth emerges out of the mist of 
obloquy and becomes history. 

Remember it's only in this century that Nelson has 
come into his own. 


"Sworn to no Party Of no Sect am II 
I can't be silent and I will not lie I" 

'Time and the Ocean and some Guiding Star 
In High Cabal have made us what we are!" 























INDEX 275 





SIR JOHN FISHER IN "RENOWN," 1897 . ; . . . 33 






1917 96 


AGE 19 LIEUTENANT - ... 144 

1885 AGE 41 POST-CAPTAIN 145 

1904 AGE 63 ADMIRAL 145 


MAY, 1899 . . 240 




1899-1902 241 





KING EDWAED had faith in me, and so supported me 
always that it is only natural I should begin this book 
with the remarks about him which I privately printed 
long since for use at my death; but events have occurred 
to alter that decision and induce me to publish this book. 

There are more intimate touches than those related 
here, which I forbear to publish. There is a limit to those 
peculiar and pregnant little exhibitions of a kind heart's 
purpose being put in print. They lose their aroma. 

In the Dictionary of National Biography there is a 
Marginal Heading in the Life of King Edward as fol- 


It is the only personal marginal note ! I now descant 
upon it, not to be egotistical, but to exemplify one of 
the finest traits in King Edward's noble character with- 
out doubt I personally could not be of the very least 
service to him in any way, and yet in his belief of my 
being right in the vast and drastic reforms in the Navy 
he gave me his unfaltering support right through un- 
swervingly, though every sycophantic effort was exhausted 
in the endeavour to alienate him from his support of me. 



He quite enjoyed the numberless communications he got, 
and the more outrageous the calumnies the more he 
revelled in my reputed wickedness ! I can't very well put 
some of them on paper, but the Minotaur wasn't in it 
with me! Also I was a Malay! I was the son of a Cinga- 
lese Princess hence my wicked cunning and duplicity! 
I had formed a syndicate and bought all the land round 
Rosyth before the Government fixed on it as a Naval 
Base hence my wealth! How the King enjoyed my 
showing him my private income as given to the Income 
Tax Commissioners was 382 6s. lid. after the legal 
charges for income tax, annuities, etc., were subtracted 
from the total private income of 750 ! * 

But King Edward's abiding characteristic was his un- 
failing intuition in doing the right thing and saying the 
right thing at the right time. I once heard him on the 
spur of the moment make a quite impromptu and totally 
unexpected speech to the notabilities of Malta which was 
simply superb! Elsewhere I have related his visit to 
Russia when I accompanied him. As Prince Orloff said 
to me, swept away by King Edward's eloquence, "Your 
King has changed the atmosphere!" 

King Edward, besides his wonderful likeness to King 
Henry the Eighth, had that great King's remarkable at- 
tributes of combining autocracy with almost a socialistic 
tie with the masses. I said to His Majesty once: "Sir, 
that was a real low form of cunning on your Majesty's 
part sending to ask after Keir Hardie's stomach-ache I" 
By Jove, he wejit for me like a mad bull! and replied: 

*Sir Julian Corbett, the author of the wonderful "Seven Years' War," 
wrote to me in past vituperative years as follows: 

"Yesterday I was asked if it were really true that you (Sir John Fisher) 
had sold the country to Germany! I was able to assure the questioner that 
the report was at least exaggerated. It is often my fortune to be able to 
quiet minds that have been seriously disturbed by the unprecedented slanders 
that have been the reward of your unprecedented work." 


"You don't understand me! I am the King of ALL the 
People! No one has got me in their pockets, as some of 
them think they have!" and he proceeded with names I 
can't quote! 

Acting on Sir Francis Knollys's example and advice I 
burnt all his letters to me, except one or two purely per- 
sonal in their delightful adherence to Right and Justice! 
but even these I won't publish ever they were not meant 
to be seen, by others. What anointed cads are those who 
sell Nelson's letters to Lady Hamilton! letters written 
out of the abundance of his heart and the thankfulness 
of an emotional nature full of heartfelt gratitude to the 
sympathising woman who dressed his wounds, his torn- 
off scalp after the Nile, and his never-ceasing calamity 
of what is now called neuritis, which was for ever wast- 
ing his frail body with pain and anguish of spirit as it so 
unfitted him for exertion. 

Here is a letter to King Edward, dated March 14th, 

"With Sir John Fisher's humble duty to your Majesty 
and in accordance with your Majesty's orders, I saw Mr. 
Blank as to the contents of the secret paper sent your 
Majesty, but I did not disclose what makes it so valuable 
that it came from a Minister of Foreign Affairs, whose 
testimony is absolutely reliable. 

"I told Mr. Blank and asked him to forgive my pre- 
sumption in saying it, that we were making a hideous 
mistake in our half measures, which pleased no one and 
thus we perpetuate the fable of 'Perfidious Albion/ and 
that we ought to have thrown in our lot with Russia and 
completely allowed her to fortify the Aland Islands as 
against Sweden and Germany. 

"For a Naval War against Germany we want Russia 
with us, and we want the Aland Islands fortified. 

"Germany has got Sweden in her pocket, and they 
will divide Denmark between them in a War against 


Russia and England, and unless our Offensive is quick 
and overwhelming Germany will close the Baltic just as 
effectually as Turkey locks up the Black Sea with the 
possession of the Dardanelles. 

"Russia and Turkey are the two Powers, and the only 
two Powers, that matter to us as against Germany, and 
that we have eventually to fight Germany is just as sure 
as anything can be, solely because she can't expand com- 
mercially without it. 

"I humbly trust your Majesty will forgive my pre- 
sumption in thus talking Politics, but I know I am right, 
and I only look at it because if we fight we want Russia 
and Turkey on our side against Germany. 

"With my grateful thanks for your Majesty's letter, 
"I am your Majesty's humble servant, 

"J. A. FISHER." 

"March Uth, 1908. 

Note. This letter to King Edward followed on a 
previous long secret conversation with his Majesty in 
which I urged that we should "Copenhagen" the German 
Fleet at Kiel a la Nelson, and I lamented that we pos- 
sessed neither a Pitt nor a Bismarck to give the order. 
I have alluded to this matter in my account of Mr. Beit's 
interview with the German Emperor, and the German 
Emperor's indignation with Lord Esher as signified in the 
German Emperor's letter to Lord Tweedmouth that Sir 
John Fisher was the most dreaded man in Germany from 
the Emperor downwards. 

It must be emphasised that at this moment we had a 
mass of effective Submarines and Germany only had three, 
and we had seven Dreadnoughts fit to fight and Germany 
had none! 

This proposal of mine having been discarded, all that 
then remained for our inevitable war with Germany was 
to continue the concentration of our whole Naval strength 
in the Decisive Theatre of the War, in Northern Waters, 
which was so unostentatiously carried out that it was only 
Admiral Mahan's article in The Scientific American that 


drew attention to the fact, when he said that 88 per cent, 
of England's guns were pointed at Germany. 

I mention another excellent illustration of King Ed- 
ward's fine and magnanimous character though it's to my 
own detriment. He used to say to me often at Big Func- 
tions: "Have I missed out anyone, do you think?" for he 
would go round in a most careful way to speak to all he 
should. Just then a certain Admiral approached per- 
haps the biggest ass I ever met. The King shook hands 
with him and said something I thought quite unnecessarily 
loving to him: when he had gone he turned on me like a 
tiger and said: "You ought to be ashamed of yourself!" I 
humbly said, "What for?" "Why!" he replied, "when 
that man came up to me your face was perfectly demoni- 
acal! Everyone saw it! and the poor fellow couldn't kick 
you back! You're First Sea Lord and he's a ruined man! 
You've no business to show your hate!" and the lovely 
thing was that then a man came up I knew the King did 
perfectly hate, and I'm blessed if he didn't smile on him 
and cuddle him as if he was his long-lost brother, and then 
he turned to me afterwards and said with joyful revenge, 
"Well! did you see that?" Isn't that a Great Heart? and 
is it to be wondered at that he was so Popular? 

An Australian wrote a book of his first visit to Eng- 
land. He was on a horse omnibus sitting alongside the 
'Bus Driver suddenly he pulled up the horses with a 
jerk! The Australian said to him, "What's up?" The 
Driver said, "Don't you see?" pointing to a single 
mounted policeman riding in front of a one-horse 
brougham. The Australian said, "What is it?" The 
'Bus Driver said, "It's the King!" The Australian said, 
"Where's the escort?" thinking of cavalry and outriders 
and equerries that he had read of! The 'Bus Driver 


turned and looked on the Australian with a contemptu- 
ous regard and said: "Hescourt? 'e wants no HescourtI 
Nobody will touch a 'air of 'is 'ead!" The Australian 
writes that fixed him up as regards King Edward! 

His astounding memory served King Edward beauti- 
fully. Once he beckoned me up to him, having finished 
his tour round the room, to talk about something and I 
said: "Sir, the new Japanese Ambassador is just behind 
you and I don't believe your Majesty has spoken to His 
Excellency." The King instantly turned round and said 
these very words straight off. I remember them exactly; 
he took my breath away: "My dear Ambassador, do let 
me shake you by the hand and congratulate you warmly 
on the splendid achievement yesterday of your wonderful 
country in launching a 'Dreadnought* so completely 
home-produced in every way, guns, armour engines, and 
steel, etc. Kindly convey my admiration of this splendid 

I remembered then that in the yesterday's paper there 
had been an account of the great rejoicings in Japan on 
the launch of this "Dreadnought." The sequel is good. 
The Japanese Ambassador sought me later in the evening 
and said: "Sir John! it was kind of you to remind the 
King about the 'Dreadnought' as it enables me to send a 
much coveted recognition to Japan in the King's words !" 
I said: "My dear Ambassaolor, I, never said a word to the 
King, and I am truly and heartily ashamed that as First 
Sea Lord it never occurred to me to congratulate you on 
what the King has truly designated as a splendid feat!" 

I expect the Ambassador spent a young fortune in 
sending out a telegram to Japan, and do you wonder that 
King Edward was a Cosmopolitan Idol? 

Another occasion to illustrate his saying out of his 
heart always the right thing at the right time. I was 


journeying with His Majesty from Biarritz to Toulon 
I was alone with him in his railway carriage, there was a 
railway time table before him. The train began unex- 
pectedly to slow down, and he said, "Hulloa! why are we 
stopping?" I said, "Perhaps, your Majesty, the engine 
wants a drink!" so we stopped at a big station we were 
to have passed through the masses of people shouted not 
"Vive le Hoi!" but "EDOUARD!" (As the Governor 
of the Bank of France said to a friend of mine, "If he 
stays in France much longer we shall have him as our 
King! When's he going?"). Sir Stanley Clarke I saw 
get out and fetch the Prefect and the General in Com- 
mand to the King the King got out, said something 
sweet to the Prefect and then turned to the General and 
said with quite unaffected delight, "Oh, Mon General! 
How delightful to meet you again! how glorious was that 
splendid regiment of yours, the th Regiment of In- 
fantry, which I inspected 20 years ago!" If I ever saw 
Heaven in a man's face, that General had it! He was 
certainly a most splendid looking man and not to be for- 
gotten, but yet it was striking the King coming out with 
his immediate remembrance of him. Well! that incident 
you may be sure went through the French Army, and 
being a conscript nation, it went into every village of 
France! Do you wonder he was loved in France? And 
yet the King had the simplicity and even the weaknesses of 
a child, and sometimes the petulance thereof. He gave 
me a lovely box of all sizes of rosettes of the Legion of 
Honour adapted to each kind of uniform coat, and he 
added, "Always wear this in France I find it aids me 
very much in getting about!" As if he wasn't as well 
known in all France as the Town Pump! 

These are the sweet incidents that illustrate his nature ! 

He went to a lunch at Marienbad with some great 


swells who were there who had invited His Majesty to 
meet a party of the King's friends from Carlsbad, where 
I was I wasn't asked being an arranged snub! A 
looker-on described the scene to me. The King came in 
and said "How d'ye do" all round and then said to the 
Host, "Where's the Admiral?" My absence was apolo- 
gised for lunch was ready and announced. The King 
said, "Excuse me a moment, I must write him a letter 
to say how sorry I am at the oversight," so he left them 
stewing in their own juice, and His Majesty's letter to 
me was lovely I've kept that one. He began by 

d ing the pen and then the blotting paper! there 

were big blots and smudges! He came back and gave 
the letter to my friend and said, "See he gets it directly 
you get back to Carlsbad to-night." 

Once at a very dull lunch party given in his honour I 
sat next King Edward and said to His Majesty: "Pretty 
dull, Sir, this hadn't I better give them a song?" He 
was delighted! (he always did enjoy everything!) so I 
recited (but, of course, I can't repeat the delicious Cock- 
ney tune in writing, so it loses all its aroma!). Two 
tramps had been camping out (as was their usual custom) 
in Trafalgar Square. They appear on the stage leaning 
against each other for support! too much beer! They 
look upwards at Nelson on his monument, and in an in- 
imitable and "beery" voice they each sing: 

"We live in Trafalgar Square, with four Lions to guards us, 

Fountains and statues all over the place ! 

The 'Metropole' staring us right in the face! 

"We own it's a trifle draughty but we don't want to make no fuss ! 
What's good e-nough for Nelson is good e-nough for us!" 

On another occasion I was driving with him alone, and 
utterly carried away by my feelings, I suddenly stood up 


in the carriage and waved to a very beautiful woman who 
I thought was in America ! The King was awfully angry, 
but I made it much worse by saying I had forgotten all 
about him ! But he added, "Well ! find out where she lives 
and let me know," and he gave her little child a sovereign 
and asked her to dinner, to my intense joy I 

On a classic occasion at Balmoral, when staying with 
King Edward, I unfolded a plan, much to his delight 
(now that masts and sails are extinct) , of fusing the Army 
into the Navy an "Army and Navy co-operative so- 
ciety." And my favourite illustration has always been 
the magnificent help of our splendid soldiers at the Battle 
of Cape St. Vincent, where a Sergeant of the 69th Regi- 
ment was the first to board the Spanish three-decker, "San 
Josef," and he turned then round to help Lord Nelson, 
who, with his one arm, found it difficult to get through 
the stern port of the "San Josef" again. In Lord Howe's 
victory two Regiments participated the Queen's Royal 
West Surrey Regiment (formerly the 2nd Foot) and the 
Worcestershire Regiment (formerly the 29th and 36th 
Regiment). Let us hope that the Future will bring us 
back to that good old practice! This was the occasion 
when I was so carried away by the subject that I found 
myself shaking my fist in the King's face ! 

Lord Denbigh, in a lecture he gave at the Royal Colo- 
nial Institute, related an incident which he quite correctly 
stated had hitherto been a piece of diplomatic secret his- 
tory, and it is how I got the Grand Cordon of the Legion 
of Honour, associated with a lovely episode with King 
Edward of blessed memory. 

In 1906, at Madeira, the Germans first took an hotel; 
then they wanted a Convalescent Home; and finally put 
forth the desire to establish certain vested interests. They 
imperiously demanded certain concessions from Portugal. 


The most significant of these amounted to a coaling sta- 
tion isolated and fortified. The German Ambassador at 
Lisbon called on the Portuguese Prime Minister at 10 
o'clock one Saturday night and said that if he didn't get 
his answer by 10 o'clock the next night he should leave. 
The Portuguese sent us a telegram. That night we or- 
dered the British Fleet to move. The next morning the 
German Ambassador told the Portuguese Prime Min- 
ister that he had made a mistake in the cipher, and he was 
awfully sorry but he wasn't going; it was all his fault, 
he said, and he had been reprimanded by his Government. 
(As if any German had ever yet made a mistake with a 

To resume about the Grand Cordon of the Legion of 
Honour. The French Official statement when conveying 
to me the felicitations of the President of the French 
Republic was that I had the distinction of being at that 
time the only living Englishman who had received this 
honour, but the disaster that had been averted by the 
timely action of the British Fleet deserved it. So that 
evening, on meeting King Edward, I told His Majesty 
of the quite unexpected honour that I had received, and 
that I had been informed that I was the only Englishman 
that had got it, on which the King said: "Excuse me, 
I've got it!" Then, alas, I made a faux pas and said, 
"Kings don't count!" And no more do they! He got 
it because certainly they all loved him in the first place, 
and secondly, President Loubet couldn't help it, while 
if it hadn't been for the British Fleet on this occasion the 
Germans would have been in Paris in a week, and if the 
Germans had known as much as they do now they would 
have been! 

I don't mean to urge that King Edward was in any 
way a clever man. I'm not sure that he could do the rule 


of three, but he had the Heavenly gift of Proportion and 
Perspective! Brains never yet moved the Masses but 
Emotion and Earnestness will not only move the Masses, 
but they will remove Mountains ! As I told Queen Alex- 
andra on seeing his dear face (dead) for the last time, his 
epitaph is the great words of Pascal in the "Pensees" 
(Chapter ix, 19) : 

"Le coeur a ses raisons 
Que la raison ne connait point" 

("The heart has reasons that reason knows nothing 

He was a noble man and every inch a King! God 
Bless Him! I don't either say he was a Saint! I know 
lots of cabbages that are saints ! they couldn't sin if they 
wanted to! 


It suddenly occurred to me to send these notes on King 
Edward to Lord Esher, as he had peculiar opportunities 
of realising King Edward's special qualities as a King, 
and realised how much there was in him of the Tudor gift 
of being an autocrat and yet being loved of the people! 

Lord Esher to Lord Fisher 


July 30, 1918. 


The pages are wonderful, because they are you. 

Not a square inch of pose about them. 

Tears! that was the result of reading what you have 
to say about King Edward. But do you recollect our 
talk with him on board the Royal Yacht about France 
and Germany? Surely that was worth recording. 


I have kept many of his letters. They show him to 
have been one of the "cleverest" of men. He had never 
depended upon book-learning why should he? 

He read, not books but men and women and jolly 
good reading too! 

But he knew everything that it was requisite a King 
should know unless Learning prepares a man for ac- 
tion, it is not of much value in this work-a-day world: 
and no Sovereign since the Tudors was so brave and wise 
in action as this King! 

Your anecdotes of him are splendid. Add to them all 
that you can remember. 

It was a pleasure to be scolded by the King for the 
sake of the smile you subsequently got. 

The most awful time I ever had with him was at 
Balmoral when I refused to be Secretary of State for 
War. But I beat him on that, thank God! 

Ever yours, 
My beloved Admiral, 


Letter from Lord Redesdale 


May 24, 1915. 


Do me the favour of accepting this little attempt to 
render justice to the best friend you ever had. (King 
Edward the Seventh.) 

You and he were worthy of one another. Your old 
and very affectionate friend, 


The following letter, written in 1907, would never 
have been penned but for the kindly intimacy and con- 
fidence placed and reposed in me by King Edward; it 
therefore rightly comes in these remarks about him; and 
so does the subsequent explanatory note on "Nelson and 




I have just received Reich's book. It is one unmiti- 
gated mass of misrepresentations. 

In March this year, 1907, it is an absolute fact that 
Germany had not laid down a single "Dreadnought," nor 
had she commenced building a single Battleship or Big 
Cruiser for eighteen months. 

Germany has been paralysed by the "Dreadnought" 

The more the German Admiralty looked into her quali- 
ties the more convinced they became that they must fol- 
low suit, and the more convinced they were that the whole 
of their existing Battle Fleet was utterly useless because 
utterly wanting in gun power ! For instance, half of the 
whole German Battle Fleet is only about equal to the 
English Armoured Cruisers. 

The German Admiralty wrestled with the "Dread- 
nought" problem for eighteen months, and did nothing. 
Why? Because it meant their spending twelve and a 
half million sterling on widening and deepening the Kiel 
Canal, and in dredging all their harbours and all the ap- 
proaches to their harbours, because if they did not do so 
it would be no use building German "Dreadnoughts" 
because they could not float! But there was another rea- 
son never yet made public. It is this: Our Battleships 
draw too much water to get close into the German Coast 
and harbours (we have to build ours big to go all over 
the world with great fuel endurance). But the German 
Admiralty is going, is indeed obliged, to spend twelve 
and a half million sterling in dredging so as to allow these 
existing ships of ours to go and fight them in their own 
waters when before they could not do so. It was, indeed, 
a Machiavellian interference of Providence on our behalf 
that brought about the evolution of the "Dreadnought." 

To return to Mr. Reich. He makes the flesh of the 
British public creep at page 78 et seq., by saying what 


the Germans are going to do. He does not say what they 
have done and what we have done. 

Now this is the truth: England has seven "Dread- 
noughts" and three "Dreadnought" Battle Cruisers 
(which last three ships are, in my opinion, far better 
than "Dreadnoughts") ; total, ten "Dreadnoughts" built 
and building, while Germany, in March last, had not be- 
gun even one "Dreadnought." It is doubtful if, even so 
late as May last, a German "Dreadnought" had been 
commenced. It will therefore be seen, from this one fact, 
what a liar Mr. Reich is. 

Again, at page 86, he makes out the Germans are 
stronger than we are in torpedo craft, and states that 
England has only 24 fully commissioned Destroyers. 

Again, what are the real facts? As stated in an Ad- 
miralty official document, dated August 22nd, 1907: "We 
have 123 Destroyers and 40 Submarines. The Germans 
have 48 Destroyers and 1 Submarine." 

The whole of our Destroyers and Submarines are ab- 
solutely efficient and ready for instant battle and are fully 
manned, except a portion of the Detsroyers, which have 
four-fifths of their crew on board. Quite enough for in- 
stant service, and can be filled up under an hour to full 
crew. And they are all of them constantly being exer- 

There is one more piece of information I have to give : 
Admiral Tirpitz, the German Minister of Marine, has 
just stated, in a secret official document, that the English 
Navy is now four times stronger than the German Navy. 
Yes, that is so, and we are going to keep the British Navy 
at that strength, vide ten "Dreadnoughts" built and build- 
ing, and not one German "Dreadnought" commenced 
last May. But we don't want to parade all this to the 
world at large. Also we might have Parliamentary trou- 
ble. A hundred and fifty members of the House of Com- 
mons have just prepared one of the best papers I have 
ever read, shewing convincingly that we don't want to lay 
down any new ships at all because we are so strong. My 
answer is: We can't be too strong. Sir Charles Dilke, in 


(Lord Fisher 69, so also the King.) 

N. B. The King thought the 1841 vintage very good. 

Certainly good men were born that year ! 





the United Service Magazine for this month, says: "Sir 
George Clarke points out that the Navy is now, in Oc- 
tober, 1907, stronger than at any previous time in all His- 
tory," and he adds that Sir George Clarke, in making 
this printed statement, makes it with the full knowledge 
of all the secrets of the Government, because, as Secre- 
tary of the Committee of Imperial Defence, he, Sir George 
Clarke, has access to every bit of information that exists 
in regard to our own and foreign Naval strength. 

In conclusion, a letter in The Times of September 
17th, 1907, should be read. The writer of the letter un- 
derstates the case, as the British Home Fleet is twenty 
per cent, stronger than he puts it. 

As regards Mr. Reich's Naval statements, they are a 
rechauffe of the mendacious drivel of a certain English 
newspaper. I got a letter last night from a trustworthy 
person a propos of these virulent and persistent news- 
paper attacks as to the weakness of the Navy, stating that 
the recent inspection of the Fleet by Your Majesty has 
knocked the bottom out of the case against the Admiralty. 

I don't mean to say that we are not now menaced by 
Germany. Her diplomacy is, and always has been, and 
always will be, infinitely superior to ours. Observe our 
treatment of the Sultan as compared with Germany. The 
Sultan is the most important personage in the whole world 
for England. He lifts his finger, and Egypt and India 
are in a blaze of religious disaffection. That great Amer- 
ican, Mr. Choate, swore to me before going to the Hague 
Conference that he would side with England over sub- 
marine mines and other Naval matters, but Germany has 
diplomatically collared the United States absolutely at 
The Hague. 

The only thing in the world that England has to fear is 
Germany, and none else. 

We have no idea, at the Foreign Office, of coping with 
the German propaganda in America. Our Naval Attache 
in the United States tells me that the German Emperor 


is unceasing in his efforts to win over the American Offi- 
cial authorities, and that the German Embassy at Wash- 
ington is far and away in the ascendant with the Amer- 
ican Government. 

I hope I shall not be considered presumptuous in say- 
ing all this. I humbly confess I am neither a diplomatist 
nor a politician. I thank God I am neither. The former 
are senile, and the latter are liars. But it all does seem 
such simple common sense to me that for our Army we re- 
quire mobile troops as against sedentary garrisons, and 
that our military intervention in any very great Conti- 
nental struggle is unwise, remembering what Napoleon 
said on that point with such emphasis and such sure con- 
ception of war, and that great combined Naval and Mili- 
tary expeditions should be our role. In the splendid words 
of Sir Edward Grey: "The British Army should be a pro- 
jectile to be fired by the British Navy." 

The foundation of our policy is that the communica- 
tions of the Empire must be kept open by a predominant 
Fleet, and ipso facto such a Fleet will suffice to allay the 
fears of the "old women of both sexes" in regard to the 
invasion of England or the invasion of her Colonies. 


In May, 1907, England had seven "Dreadnoughts" 
ready for battle, and Germany had not one. And Eng- 
land had flotillas of submarines peculiarly adapted to the 
shallower German waters when Germany had none. 

Even in 1908 Germany only had four submarines. At 
that time, in the above letter I wrote to King Edward, 
I approached His Majesty, and quoted certain apposite 
sayings of Mr. Pitt about dealing with the probable 
enemy before he got too strong. It is admitted that it 
was not quite a gentlemanly sort of thing for Nelson to 
go and destroy the Danish Fleet at Copenhagen without 


notice, but "la raison du plus fort est tou jours la meil- 

Therefore, in view of the known steadfast German 
purpose, as always unmitigatedly set forth by the German 
High Authority that it was Germany's set intention to 
make even England's mighty Navy hesitate at sea, it 
seemed to me simply a sagacious act on England's part 
to seize the German Fleet when it was so very easy of 
accomplishment in the manner I sketched out to His 
Majesty, and probably without bloodshed. But, alas! 
even the very whisper of it excited exasperation against 
the supposed bellicose, but really peaceful, First Sea 
Lord, and the project was damned. At that time Ger- 
many was peculiarly open to this "peaceful penetration." 
A new Kiel Canal, at the cost of many, many millions? 
had been rendered necessary by the advent of the "Dread- 
nought"; but worse still for the Germans, it was necessary 
for them to spend further vast millions in deepening not 
only the approaches to the German Harbours, but the 
Harbours themselves, to allow the German "Dread- 
noughts," when built, to be able to float. In doing this, 
the Germans were thus forced to arrange that thirty-three 
British pre- "Dreadnoughts" should be capable of attack- 
ing their shores, which shallow water had previously de- 
nied them. Such, therefore, was the time of stress and 
unreadiness in Germany that made it peculiarly timely to 
repeat Nelson's Copenhagen. Alas! we had no Pitt, no 
Bismarck, no Gambetta! And consequently came those 
terrible years of War, with millions massacred and maimed 
and many millions more of their kith and kin with pierced 
hearts and bereft of all that was mortal for their joy. 




At the end of these short and much too scant memories 
of him whom Lord Redesdale rightly calls in the letter I 
printed above 

"The best friend you ever had," 

I can't but allude to a Trio forming so great a part of his 
Glory. Not to name them here would be "King Edward 
an Unreality." I could not ask Queen Alexandra for 
permission either to print her Letters or her Words, but 
I am justified in printing how her steadfast love, and faith, 
and wonderful loyalty and fidelity to her husband have 
proved how just is the judgment of Her Majesty by the 
Common People "the most loved Woman in the whole 

And then Lord Knollys and Sir Dighton Probyn, 
those two Great Pillars of Wisdom and Judgment, who 
so reminded me, as they used to sit side by side in the 
Royal Chapel, of those two who on either side held up the 
arms of Moses in fighting the Amalekites: 

"And Aaron and Hur stayed up his hands, 
The one on the one side, and the other on the other side; 
And his hands were steady until the going down of the sun." 

Yes! King Edward's hands were held steady till the 
setting of his sun on May 6th, 1910, and so did he "dis- 
comfit his enemies by their aid." 

For over forty years Lord Knollys played that great 
part in great affairs which will occupy his Biographer 
with Admiration of his Self-Effacement and unerring 
Judgment. Myself I owe him gratitude inexpressible. 


For myself, those Great Three ever live in my heart 
and ever will. 

There are no such that I know of who are left to us to 
rise in their place. 



THE hound keeps baying at the moon but gets no an- 
swer from her, and she continues silently her mighty in- 
fluence in causing the tides of the earth, such a mighty 
influence as I have seen in the Bay of Fundy, and on the 
coast of Arcadia where the tide rises some 40 feet you 
see it like a high wall rolling in towards you on the beach ! 
It exalts one, and the base things of earth vanish from 
one's thoughts. So also may the contents of this book be 
like-minded by a mighty silence against baying hounds! 
I hope to name no living name except for praise, and 
even against envy I hope I may be silent. Envy caused 
the first murder. It was the biggest and nastiest of all 
Caesar's wounds: 

"See what a rent the envious Casca made." 

My impenetrable armour is Contempt and Fortitude. 

Well, yesterday, September 7th, 1919, we completed 
our conversations for the six articles in The Times, and 
to-day we begin this book with similar talks. 

My reluctance to this book being published before my 
death is increasingly definite; but I have put my hand 
to the plough, because of the overbearing argument that 
I cannot resist, that I shall be helping to 

(a) Avoid national bankruptcy. 

(b) Avert the insanity and wickedness of building a 
Navy against the United States. 



(c) Establish a union with America, as advocated by 
John Bright and Mr. Roosevelt. 

(d) Enable the United States and British Navies to 
say to all other Navies, "If you build more, we will fight 
you, here and now. We'll 'Copenhagen' you, without 

This is why I have consented, with such extreme re- 
luctance, to write letters to The Times and dictate six 
articles; and having thus entered into the fight, I follow 
the advice of Polonius Vestigia nulla retrorsum. And 
so, to-day, I will begin this book not an autobiography, 
but a collection of memories of a life-long war against 
limpets, parasites, sycophants, and jelly-fish at one time 
there were 19% millions sterling of 'em. At times they 
stung; but that only made me more relentless, ruthless 
and remorseless. 

Why I so hate a book, and those articles in The Times, 
and even the letters, is that the printed word never can 
convey the virtue of the soul. The aroma is not there 
it evaporates when printed a scentless product, flat and 
stale like a bad bottle of champagne. It is like an em- 
balmed corpse. Personality, which is the soul of man, is 
absent from the reader. It is a man's personality that 
is the living thing, and in the other world that is the thing 
you will meet. I have often asked ecclesiastics "What 
period of life will the resurrected body represent?" It 
has always been a poser for them ! There will not be any 
bodies, thank God ! we have had quite enough trouble with 
them down below here. St. Paul distinctly says that it is 
a spiritual body in the Resurrection. It is our Personali- 
ties that will talk to each other in Heaven. I don't care 
at what age of a man's life, even when toothless and de- 
crepit and indistinguishable as he may then be, yet like 


another Rip Van Winkle, when he speaks you know him. 
However, that's a digression. 

What I want to rub in is this : The man who reads this 
in his arm-chair in the Athenaeum Club would take it all 
quite differently if I could walk up and down in front of 
him and shake my fist in his face. 

( It was a lovely episode this recalls to my mind. King 
Edward God bless him! said to me once in one of my 
moments of wild enthusiasm: "Would you kindly leave 
off shaking your fist in my face?") 

I tried once, so as to make the dead print more life- 
like, using different kinds of type big Roman block let- 
ters for the "fist-shaking," large italics for the cajoling, 
small italics for the facts, and ordinary print for the fool. 
The printer's price was ruinous, and the effect ludicrous. 
But I made this compromise and he agreed to it when- 
ever the following words occurred they were to be printed 
in large capitals: "Fool," "Ass," "Congenital Idiot." 
Myself, I don't know that I am singular, but I seldom 
read a book. I look at the pages as you look at a picture, 
and grasp it that way. Of course, I know what the 
skunks will say when they read this "Didn't I tell you 
he was superficial? and here he is judged out of his own 
mouth." I do confess to having only one idea at a time, 
and King Edward found fault with me and said it would 
be my ruin ; so I replied : "Anyhow, I am stopping a fort- 
night with you at Balmoral, and I never expected that 
when I entered the Navy, penniless, friendless, and for- 
lorn 1" Besides, didn't Solomon and Mr. Disraeli both 
say that whatever you did you were to do it with all your 
might? You can't do more than one thing at a time with 
all your might that's Euclid. Mr. Disraeli added some- 
thing to Solomon he said "there was nothing you 
couldn't have if only you wanted it enough." And such 


is my only excuse for whatever success I have had. I 
have only had one idea at a time. Longo intervdilo, I 
have been a humble, and I endeavoured to be an unosten- 
tatious, follower of our Immortal Hero. Some venomous 
reptile (his name has disappeared I tried in vain to get 
hold of it at Mr. Maggs's bookshop only the other day) 
called Nelson "vain and egotistical." Good God! if he 
seemed so, how could he help it? Some nip-cheese clerk 
at the Admiralty wrote to him for a statement of his serv- 
ices, to justify his being given a pension for his wounds. 
His arm off, his eye out, his scalp torn off at the Nile 
that clerk must have known that quite well but it elicited 
a gem. Let us thank God for that clerk ! How this shows 
one the wonderful working of the Almighty Providence, 
and no doubt whatever that fools are an essential feature 
in the great scheme of creation. Why I didn't some geese 
cackling save Rome? Nelson told this clerk he had been 
in a hundred rights and he enumerated his wounds; and 
his letter lives to illumine his fame. 

The Almighty has a place for nip-cheese clerks as 
much as for the sweetest wild flower that perishes in a day. 

It is really astounding that Nelson's life has not yet 
been properly written. All that has been written is ut- 
terly unrepresentative of him. The key-notes of his being 
were imagination, audacity, tenderness. 

He never flogged a man. (One of my first Captains 
flogged every man in the ship and was tried for cruelty, 
but being the icion of a noble house he was promoted to 
a bigger ship instead of being shot. ) It oozed out of Nel- 
son that he felt in himself the certainty of effecting what 
to other men seemed rash and even maniacal rashness; 
and this involved his seeming vain and egotistical. Like 
Napoleon's presence on the field of battle that meant 
40,000 men, so did the advent of Nelson in a fleet (this 


is a fact) make every common sailor in that fleet as sure 
of victory as he was breathing. I have somewhere a con- 
versation of two sailors that was overheard and taken 
down after the battle of Trafalgar, which illustrates what 
I have been saying. Great odds against 'em but going 
into action the odds were not even thought of, they were 
not dreamt of, by these common men. Nelson's presence 
was victory. However, I must add here that he hated 
the word Victory. What he wanted was Annihilation. 
That Crowning Mercy (as Cromwell would have called 
it), the battle of the Nile, deserves the wonderful pen of 
Lord Rosebery, but he won't do it. Warburton in "The 
Crescent and the Cross" gives a faint inkling of what the 
glorious chronicle should be. For two years, that frail 
body of his daily tormented with pain (he was a martyr 
to what they now call neuritis I believe they called it 
then "tic douloureux"), he never put his foot outside his 
ship, watching off Toulon. The Lord Mayor and Citi- 
zens of London sent him a gold casket for keeping the 
hostile fleet locked up in Toulon. He wrote back to say 
he would take the casket, but he never wanted to keep 
the French Fleet in harbour; he wanted them to come 
out. But he did keep close in to Toulon for fear of miss- 
ing them coming out in darkness or in a fog. 

In his two years off Toulon Nelson only made 6,000 
of prize money, while it was a common thing for the 
Captain of a single man-of-war off the Straits of Gibraltar 
to make a haul of 20,000, and Prize-Money Admirals in 
crowds basked in Bath enriched beyond the dreams of 
avarice. Nelson practically died a pauper. 

Now this is another big digression which I must apolo- 
gise for, but that's the damnable part of a book. If one 
could walk up and down and talk to someone, it never 
strikes them as incongruous having a digression. 


I wind up this chapter, as I began it, with the fervent 
intention of avoiding any reference to those who have 
assailed me. I will only print their affectionate letters to 
me, for which I still retain the most affectionate feelings 
towards them. I regret now that on one occasion I did 
so far lose my self-control as to tell a specific Judas to 
take back his thirty pieces of silver and go and hang him- 
self. However, eventually he did get hanged, so it was 
all right. 



YESTERDAY, September 8th, 1919 (I must put this 
date down because yesterday in a telegram I called von 
Tirpitz a liar), I got an enquiry whether it was correct 
that in 1909, as stated by Admiral von Tirpitz, I, as First 
Sea Lord of the Admiralty, engineered a German Naval 
Scare in England in order to get bigger British Naval 
estimates and that I had said this to the German Naval 
Attache. I replied "Tell Tirpitz using the immortal 
words of Dr. Johnson *y u lie, Sir, and you know it !' ' 
Now, first of all, could I possibly have told the German 
Naval Attache such a thing if I possessed the Machiavel- 
lian nature which is inferred by Tirpitz? 

Secondly, there was a vast multitude of acute domestic 
enemies too closely watching me to permit any such ma- 

This affords an opportunity of telling you some very 
interesting facts about Tirpitz. They came to be known 
through the widow of Admiral von Pohl (who had been 
at the German Admiralty and commanded the German 
High Sea Fleet) interviewing a man who had been a 
prisoner at Ruhleben. He relates a conversation with 
Frau von Pohl, and he mentions her being an intimate 
friend of the German ex-Crown Princess, and as being 
extremely intelligent. Frau von Pohl had been reading 
Lord Jellicoe's book, and said to the ex-Ruhleben pris- 
oner: "How strange is the parallel between Germany and 



Britain, that in both Navies the Admirals were in a stew 
as to the failings of their respective fleets." So much so 
on the German side, she said, that the German Fleet did 
not consider itself ready to fight till two months before 
the battle of Jutland, and the Germans till then lived in 
a constant fever of trepidation. These were the questions 
she heard. " 'Why do the English not attack? Will the 
English attack to-morrow?' * These questions we asked 
ourselves hourly. We felt like crabs in the process of 
changing their shells. Apparently our secret never oozed 
out." She put the inefficiency of the German Fleet all 
dc wn to Tirpitz, and said that if any man deserved hang- 
ing it was he. Admiral von Pohl was supposed to have 
committed suicide through dejection. If all this be true; 
how it does once more illuminate that great Nelsonic 
maxim of an immediate Offensive in war! Presumably 
Frau von Pohl had good information; and she added: 
"The only reason Tirpitz was not dismissed sooner was 
lest the British should suspect from his fall something 
serious was the matter, and attack at once." 2 Part of 
her interview is of special interest, as it so reminded me 

1 See tetters at end of this chapter. 

*On hearing of von Tirpitz's dismissal I perpetrated the following letter, 
which a newspaper contrived to print in one of its editions. I can't say why, 
but it didn't appear any more, nor was it copied by any other paper! 

DEAE OLD Traps, 

We are 'rxrth in the same boat! What a time we've been colleagues, old 
boy! However, we did you in the eye over the Battle Cruisers and I know 
you've said yow'11 never forgive me for it when bang went the "Blucher" and 
von Spec and jail his host! 

Cheer up, c^ld chap ! Say "Resurgam" ! You're the one German sailor 
who understands War! Kill your enemy without being killed yourself. 7 
don't blame you. for the submarine business. I'd have done the same myself, 
only our idiots in England wouldn't believe it when I told 'em! 

Well! So long.! 

Yours till hell freezes, 


I say! Are you sure if you had tripped out with your whole High Sea 
Fleet before the Russian ice thawed and brought over those half-a-million 
soldiers from Hambu^.' to frighten our old women that you could have got 
back un-Jellicoed? R.S.V.P. 


of my deciding on Scapa Flow as the base for the fleet. 
For as Frau von Pohl states, its specialty was that the 
German Destroyers could not get to Scapa Flow and 
back at full speed. Their fuel arrangements were inade- 
quate for such a distance. "My husband," she said, "was 
called out by the Emperor to put things right, but was 
in a constant state of trepidation." Alas! trepidation was 
on our side also, for in a book written by a Naval Lieu- 
tenant he says how a German submarine was supposed to 
have got inside Scapa. 1 As a matter of fact, it was sub- 
sequently discovered that a torpedo had rolled out of its 
tube aboard one of our Destroyers and passed close to 
H.M.S. "Leda," who quite properly reported "a torpedo 
has passed under my stern." This caused all the excite- 

Admiral von Pohl succeeded Admiral von Ingenol: 1 as 
Commander-in-Chief of the German High Sea Fleet. It 
has not much bearing on what I have been saying, but it 
is interesting that Frau von Pohl said that the wife of 
the German Minister of the Interior had told her that 
her husband, on November 6th, five days before the Arm- 
istice, had talked to the Emperor of the truth as to the 
German inferiority. The Emperor listened, firpt with 
amazement, and then with incredulity, and ultimately in 
a passion of rage called him a madman and an Arrogant 
fool, and turned him out in fury from his presence. This 
is not quite on all fours with Ludendorff, but Xjudendorff 
may have been confining himself strictly to the fighting 
condition of the Army; and without doubt he was right 
there, for General Plumer told me himself he had the 
opportunity of bearing personal testimony to the com- 
plete efficiency of the German Army at the moment of 
the Armistice. Plumer was, it may be ^observed, rightly 

"A Nayal Lieutenant, 1914-1918," by Etienne, 19ij, pp. 48 et seq. 


accorded the honour of leading the British Army into 

The man who contemplates all the things that may 
be somewhat at fault and adds up his own war deficiencies 
with that curious failure of judgment to realise that his 
enemy has got as many if not more, has neither the Na- 
poleonic nor the Nelsonic gift of Imagination and Au- 
dacity. We know, now, how very near within almost a 
few minutes of total destruction (at the time the battle- 
cruiser "Blucher" was sunk) was the loss to the Ger- 
mans of several even more powerful ships than the 
"Blucher," more particularly the "Seydlitz." Alas! there 
was a fatal doubt which prevented the continuance of the 
onslaught, and it was indeed too grievous that we missed 
by so little so great a "Might Have Been!" Well, any- 
how, we won the war and it is all over. But I for one 
simply abominate the saying "Let bygones be bygones." 
I should shoot 'em now! And seek another Voltaire. 

I get the following from Lord Esher: "In January, 
1906, King Edward sent me to see Mr. Beit, who had 
been recently received by the German Emperor at Pots- 
dam. The Emperor said to Beit that 'England wanted 
war: not the King not, perhaps, the Government; but 
influential people like Sir John Fisher.' He said Fisher 
held that because the British Fleet was in perfect order, 
and the German Fleet was not ready, England should 
provoke war. Beit said he had met Fisher at Carlsbad, 
and had long talks with him, and that what he said to him 
did not convey at all the impression gathered by His 
Imperial Majesty. The Emperor replied: 'He thinks 
it is the hour for an attack, and I am not blaming him. 
I quite understand his point of view; but we, too, are 
prepared, and if it comes to war the result will depend 


upon the weight you cany into action namely, a good 
conscience, and I have that. . . . Fisher can, no doubt, 
land 100,000 men in Schleswig-Holstein it would not be 
difficult and the British Navy has reconnoitred the coast 
of Denmark with this object during the cruise of the 
Fleet. But Fisher forgets that it will be for me to deal 
with the 100,000 men when they are landed.' ' 

The German Emperor told another friend of mine 
the real spot. It was not Schleswig-Holstein that was 
only a feint to be turned into a reality against the Kiel 
Canal if things went well. No, the real spot was the 
Pomeranian Coast, under a hundred miles from Berlin, 
where the Russian Army landed in the time of Frederick 
the Great. Frederick felt it was the end and sent for 
a bottle of poison, but he didn't take it, as the Russian 
Empress died that night and peace came. 

Long before I heard from Lord Esher, I had written 
the following note about Beit: 

A mutual friend at Carlsbad introduced me to Mr. 
Beit, the great South African millionaire. He adored 
Cecil Rhodes, and so did I. Beit, so I was told, had got 
it into his head that I somewhat resembled his dead friend, 
and he talked to me on one occasion about Rhodes until 
3 a.m. after dining together. Beit begged me to come 
and see him on my return to London at his house in Park 
Lane, just then finished, but I never did for I was vastly 
busy then. I was troubled on all sides, like St. Paul. 

"Without were fightings, and within were fears." 
Fighting outside the Admiralty, and fears inside it. 

He really was a dear man, was Beit. 

Of course I don't know anything about his business 
character. Apparently there is a character a man puts 
on in business, just as a man does in politics, and it may 
be quite different from his character as a gentleman. 


Beit every year made a pilgrimage to Hamburg, to see 
his old mother, who lived there, and it much touched me, 
his devotion to her. But our bond of affection was our 
affection for Rhodes. 

The German Emperor sent for Beit, for I gathered 
that Beit saw how peace was threatened. I don't know 
if this was the reason of the interview. In this Imperial 
conversation my name turned up, as Lord Esher had 
made a statement that by all from the German Emperor 
downwards I was the most hated man in Germany. The 
German Emperor did say to Beit that I was dangerous, 
and that he knew of my ideas as regards the Baltic being 
Germany's vulnerable spot, and he had heard of my idea 
for the "Copenhagening" of the German Fleet. But this 
last I much doubt. He only said it because he knew it 
was what we ought to have done. 

With regard to saying anything more of that interview 
I prefer to keep silent. In an Italian book, printed at 
Brescia in A.D. 1594, occur these words of Steven Guazzo : 

"They should know," says Anniball, "that it is no lesse 
admirable to know how to holde one's peace than to know 
how to speake. For, as wordes well uttered shewe elo- 
quance and learning, so silence well kept sheweth pru- 
dence and gravitie!" 

I wish Beit could have read Stead's splendid apprecia- 
tion of Cecil Rhodes, who describes him as a Titan of in- 
trinsic nobility and sincerity, of innate excellence of heart, 
and immense vitality of genius, and describes the splendid 
impulsiveness of his generous nature. I am told that 
Rhodes's favourite quotation was from Marcus Aurelius: 

"Take care always to remember you are a Roman, 
and let every action be done with perfect and unaffected 
gravity, humanity, freedom and justice." 

Stead's opinion was that Rhodes was a practical mys- 
tic of the Cromwell type. Stead was right. Rhodes was 
a Cromwell. He was Cromwellian in thoroughness, he 
was Napoleonic in audacity, and he was Nelsonic in exe- 
cution. "Let us praise famous men." 

(Ecclesiasticus, chapter 44, verse 1). 


From Lord Fisher to a Friend 



I was asked yesterday: Could I end the War? 

I said: "Yes, by one decisive stroke!" 

"What's the stroke?" I was asked. 

I replied: "Never prescribe till you are called in." 

But I said this: "Winston once told me, 'You can 
see Visions ! That's why you should come back.' " 

For instance, even Jellicoe was against me in sending 
the Battle Crusiers to gobble up von Spec at the Falkland 
Islands! (All were against me!) Yes! and all were 
against me in 1904 ! when the Navy was turned inside out 
ships, officers and men. "A New Heaven and a New 
Earth!" 160 ships put on the scrap heap because they 
could neither fight nor run away! Vide Mr. Balfour's 
speech at Manchester about this "Courageous stroke of 
the pen!" 

We now want another Courageous Stroke! And the 
Stroke is ready! It's the British Navy waiting to strike! 
And it would end the War! 

This project of mine sounds an impossibility! but so 
did von Spec's annihilation! Pitt said, "I walk on Im- 
possibilities." All the old women of both sexes would 
squirm at it! They equally squirmed when I did away 
with 19^/2 millions sterling of parasites in ships, officers 
and men, between 1904 and 1910! They squirmed when, 
at one big plunge, we introduced the Turbine in the 
Dreadnought (the Turbine only before having been in a 
penny steamboat) . They squirmed at my introduction of 
the water tube Boiler, when I put the fire where the water 
used to be and the water where the fire used to be! And 
now 82 per cent, of the Horse Power of the whole world 
is Turbine propulsion actuated by water tube Boilers! 

They squirmed when I concentrated 88 per cent, of 
the British Fleet in the North Sea, and this concentration 
was only found out by accident, and so published to the 


ignorant world, by Admiral Mahan in an article in The 
Scientific American! 

And they squirm now when I say at one stroke the 
War could be ended. It could be! 

Yours, etc. 

(Signed) FISHER. 

Lord Fisher to a Privy Councillor 


Dec. 27, 1916. 


You've sent me a very charming letter, though I 
begged you not to trouble yourself to write, but as you 
have written and said things I am constrained to reply, 
lest you should be under false impressions. I have an 
immense regard for Jellicoe. . . . Callaghan I got where 
he was he was a great friend of mine but Jellicoe was 
better; and Jellicoe, in spite of mutinous threats, was ap- 
pointed Admiralissimo on the eve of war. I just men- 
tion all this to show what I've done for Jellicoe because 
I knew him to be a born Commander of a Fleet! Like 
poets, Fleet Admirals are born, not made ! Nascitur non 
fit! Jellicoe is incomparable as the Commander of a Fleet, 
but to prop up an effete Administration he allowed him- 
self to be cajoled away from his great post of duty. I 
enclose my letter to him. 

I ne*fl hardly saw how private all this is, but you are 
so closely associated with all the wonders we effected from 
October 21, 1904, onwards, that I feel bound to take you 
into my inmost confidence. Jellicoe retorted I had praised 
Beatty so I had! See my reply thereon. I told the 
Dardanelles Commission (why they asked me I don't 
know!) that Jellicoe had all the Nelsonic attributes ex- 
cept one he is totally wanting in the great gift of In- 
subordination. Nelson's greatest achievements were all 
solely due to his disobeying orders! But that's another 
story, as Mr. Kipling would say. Wait till we meet, and 
I'll astonish you on this subject! Any fool can obey or- 


ders ! But it required a Nelson to disobey Sir John Jervis 
at the Battle of Cape St. Vincent, to disregard the order 
to retire at Copenhagen, to go into the Battle of the Nile 
by night with no charts against orders, and, to crown all, 
to enter into the Battle of Trafalgar in a battle forma- 
tion contrary to all the Sea orders of the time! BLESS 
HIM! Alas! Jellicoe is saturated with Discipline! He 
is THE ONE MAN to command the Fleet, BUT he is not the 
man to stand up against a pack of lawyers clothed with 
Cabinet garments, and possessed with tongues that have 
put them where they are! 

David was nodding when he said in the Psalms: "A 
man full of words shall not prosper on the Earth." They 
are the very ones that DO prosper! For War, my dear 
Friend, you want a totally differently constituted mind to 
that of a statesman and politician! There are great ex- 
emplars of immense minds being utter fools ! They weigh 
everything in the Balance ! I know great men who never 
came to a prompt decision men who could talk a bird 
out of a tree! 

War 4s Big Conceptions and Quick Decisions. Think 
in Oceans. Shoot at Sight! The essence of War is Vio- 
lence. Moderation in War is Imbecility. All we have 
done in this war is to imitate the Germans! We have 
neither been Napoleonic in Audacity nor Cromwellian in 
Thoroughness nor Nelsonic in execution. Always, al- 
ways, always "Too LATE"! 

I could finish this present German submarine menace 
in a few weeks, but I must have POWER! My plans would 
be emasculated if I handed them in. I must be able to 
say to the men I employ : ff lf you don't do what I tell you, 
I'll make your wife a widow and your house a dunghill!!! 
(and they know I would!) 

Don't prescribe till you're called in! Someone else 
might put something else in the pill! 
Heaven bless you! 

When people come and sympathise with me, I always 
reply, with those old Romans 2,000 years ago expelled: 


"Non f ugimus : 
Nos fugamur." 
"We are not Deserters, 
We are Outcasts." 

Yours, etc. 

(Signed) FISHER. 

From a Privy Councillor to Lord Fisher 

Jan. Bth, 1917. 


I have always thought Jellicoe one of those rare ex- 
ceptions to the general rule that no great commander is 
ever a good administrator. I knew you had picked him 
out long ago to command the Grand Fleet if war came, 
and it is in my mind that you had told me years ago your 
opinion of him as a Sea Commander so that it was what 
I was expecting and hoping for at the time, though I was 
sorry for Jellicoe superseding Callaghan when the war 
broke out, but I remembered your old saying, "Some day 
the Empire will go down because it is Buggins's turn"! 
At the same time, I'm not sure that any man can stand 
the strain of active command under present conditions 
for more than 2% years. I see no sign of tiredness about 
Jellicoe now, but it must be almost impossible to keep at 
high tension so long without losing some of the spring 
and dash, and it did look as if a stronger man than Jack- 
son was wanted as First Sea Lord at the Admiralty. Of 
course when you were First Sea Lord and Jellicoe with 
the Grand Fleet it was absolutely the right combination, 
but as they haven't brought you back to the Admiralty 
I feel Jellicoe is the man to be where he is, provided his 
successor is the right man too. I don't know Beatty, so 
can only go by what I hear of him. I can only pray that 
when his day of trial comes he will come up to your high 

I largely agree with all you say about the politicians. 
No doubt our great handicap in this war is that nearly 
all the party leaders get their positions through qualities 
which serve them admirably in peace time, but are fatal 


in war. The great art in politics in recent years has al- 
ways seemed to me to be to pretend to lead, when you 
are really following the public bent of the moment. All 
sense of right and wrong is blunted, and no one stands 
up for what he honestly believes in but which may not at 
the moment be popular. If he does, he is regarded as a 
fool, and a "waster," and may get out. A habit of mind 
is thus formed which is wholly wanting in initiative, and 
in war the initiative is everything. I agree with you ab- 
solutely: "Make up your mind, and strike! and strike 
hard and without mercy" We have thrown away chance 
upon chance, and nothing saves us but the splendid fight- 
ing material at our disposal. I doubt whether the recent 
changes will bring about any great change. I trust they 
may, but, whatever happens, neither side can go on in- 
definitely. Everything points to Germany's economic 
condition being very bad, and there may come a crash, 
but meantime the submarine warfare is most serious, and 
no complete answer to it is yet available. 

Yours very sincerely, 



MR. GLADSTONE stood by me last night. Mr. Mc- 
Kenna was by his side. I am not inventing this dream. 
It is a true story. (It is Godly sincerity that wins not 
fleshly wisdom!) 

A gentleman, such as you, was by way of interview- 
ing Mr. Gladstone. Mr. Gladstone was castigating me. 
I was a Public Department. He said to you, who were 
interviewing him, that he was helpless against all the Pub- 
lic Departments, for he was fighting for Economy, and 
he gave a case to you worse than either Chepstow or 
Slough. I am sorry to say it was the War Office he was 
illustrating, as I am devoted to Mr. Churchill and would 
not hurt him for the world even in a dream. It is too 
puerile to describe in print, but what Mr. Gladstone 
pointed to I have told you in conversation. 

Now, the above is an Allegory. 

Imagine! nearly a year after the Armistice and yet 
we are spending two millions sterling a day beyond an 
absolutely fabulous income beyond any income ever yet 
produced by any Empire or any Nation! 

Sweep them out! 

Dr. Macnamara, a few days since, in his apologia pro 
vita sua, excuses his Department to the public by saying 
that on the very day of the Armistice the Board of Ad- 
miralty sat on Economy! So they did! They sat on it! 

Economy! To send Squadrons all over the globe that 



were not there before! The globe did without them dur- 
ing the War why not now? "Oh my Sacred Aunt!" 
(as the French say when in an extremity) . "Showing the 
flag," I suppose, for that was the cry of the "baying 
hounds" in 1905 when we brought home some 160 vessels 
of war that could neither fight nor run away and whose 
Officers were shooting pheasants up Chinese rivers and 
giving tea parties to British Consuls. How those Con- 
suls did write ! And how agitated was the Foreign Office ! 
I must produce some of these communications directly 
"DORA" is abolished. Well, that's what "showing the 
flag" means. 

Sweep 'em out! 

Gladstone was hopeless against Departments so is 
now the Nation. 

Dr. Macnamara may not know it, but Mr. Herbert 
Samuel was to have had his place. I did not know either 
of them, but I said to the Prime Minister, "Let's have 
the 'Two Macs' !" Mind, I don't class him with the Mu- 
sic Hall artist. (Tempus: Death of Campbell-Banner- 
man) that epoch I cannot forget Mr. Asquith's kind- 
ness to me. He had telephoned to me from Bordeaux 
after seeing the King at Biarritz, asking me to meet him 
on his arrival home next night at 8.30 p.m. at 40 Cavendish 
Square. His motor car was leaving the door as I arrived. 
He told me he had seen the King, and had proposed Mr. 
McKenna as First Lord of the Admiralty. The King 
seemed to have some suspicion that I should not think 
Mr. McKenna a congenial spirit. I made no objection 
I thought to myself that if Mr. McKenna were hostile 
then Tempus edax rerum. I don't think Jonathan and 
David were "in it" when Mr. McKenna and I parted 
on January 25th, 1910 my selected day to go and plant 


roses in Norfolk. I blush to quote the Latin inscription 
on the beautiful vase he gave me: 

Joanni Fisher 

Baroni Kilverstonae 

Navarchorum Principi, Ensis, Linguae, 

Stili Valde Perito, 
Vel in Concilio vel in Praelio insigni, 

Nihil Timenti, 
Inflexibili, Indomitabili, Invincibili, 1 

Pignus Amicitiae Sempiternae, 
Dederunt Reginaldus et Pamela McKenna. 



Lord Fisher of Kilverstone 

First of Admirals 

Skilled of Sword, Tongue & Pen 

Brilliant in Council and Battle 

Dreading Nought 

Inflexible, Indomitable, Invincible 1 
This Token of Enduring Friendship 

a Gift from 
Reginald & Pamela McKenna 

And, even now, when time and absence might have dead- 
ened those feelings of affection, he casts himself into the 
burning fiery furnace, bound with me in a trusteeship of 
a huge estate with only 3s. 4>d. in the left all that 
the spendthrifts leave us. "Showing the flag" and pre- 
sumably resuscitating the same old game of multitudinous 
dockyards to minister to the ships that are "showing the 
flag"; and so more Chepstows and more Sloughs! And 
these multitudes of shipwrights superfluous in Govern- 
ment Dockyards who ought to be in day and night shifts 
making good at Private Yards the seven millions sterling 
of merchant vessels that Dr. Macnamara's Government 
associates supinely allowed to be sent to the bottom! 
Those political and professional associates, who, instead 

* Note. These are the names of the three first great Battle Cruisers of the 
Dreadnought type. 


of using the unparalleled British Navy of the moment as 
a colossal weapon for landing Russian Armies in Pome- 
rania and Schleswig-Holstein, aided by the calm and tide- 
less waters of the Baltic, were led astray to follow the 
road that led to conscription and an army of Four Mil- 
lion Soldiers, while the Navy was described in the House 
of Commons as "a subsidiary service." How Napoleon 
must now be chortling at his prognostication coming true, 
that he put forth at St. Helena, as described on page 177 
of Lord Rosebery's "Last Phase," that the day we left 
the sea would be our downfall! 

But this chapter is on "Economy"; and I have to tell 
a story here about my dear friend McKenna. He was 
Secretary of the Treasury; he, and an almost equal friend 
of mine Mr. Runciman were, as we all know, ex- 
tremely cunning at figures. Lots of people were then 
looking after me Kind friends ! For instance, I remem- 
ber my good friend John Burns at one Cabinet Commit- 
tee meeting instructing me on a piece of blotting paper 
how to deal with a hostile fleet. I don't mean to say that 
John Burns would not have been a first-class Admiral. 
To be a good Admiral, a man does not need to be a good 
sailor. That's a common mistake. He wants good sailors 
under him. He is the Conceptionist. However, to re- 
sume. At that time I was "Pooh-Bah" at the Admiralty; 
the First Lord was in a trance, and the Financial Secre- 
tary had locomotor ataxy. I was First Sea Lord, and I 
acted for both the Financial Secretary and the First Lord 
in their absence. I wasn't justified, but I did it. So I 
was the tria juncta in uno; and I referred, as First Sea 
Lord, a matter to the Financial Secretary for his urgent 
and favourable consideration, and he favourably com- 
mended it to the First Lord, who invariably cordially ap- 


proved. It was all over in about a minute. Business 

(I'm doubtful whether this ought to come out before 
Dora's abolished. That's why I wanted these papers to 
be edited in the United States by some indiscreet woman, 
where no action for libel lies. Colonel House did ask me 
to go to America when I saw him in Paris last May. 
There is a great temptation, for the climate goes from 
the Equator to the Pole, and a dear American Admiral 
friend of mine expatiated to me on the joy of laying hold 
of the hand of the summer girl at Palm Beach in Florida 
and never letting it go until you get to Bar Harbour in 
the State of Maine. I have had endless invitations and 
most hearty words from Florida to Maine, and from 
Pasadena to Boston, and I have as many American dear 
friends as I have English.) 

Well! the Treasury could not make out how all those 
submarines were being built where the devil the money 
was coming from; so these ferrets came over. I led a 
dog's life, or rather a rabbit's life, chased from hole to 
hole. Nothing came of it ; and as an outcome of that time 
I left the Admiralty with 61 good submarines and 13 
building. The Germans, thank God! had gone to the 
bottom with their first submarine, which never came up 
again, and the few more they had at that time were not 
much use. 

I must tell a story now. Mind! I don't want to run 
down the Treasury. The Treasury is an absolutely neces- 
sary affliction. 

There was once a good Parsee ship-owner with a good 
Captain. But this Captain would charge his owner with 
the cost of his carriage from his ship to the office. Not 
being far, the old Parsee thought the Captain ought to 
walk, and if he didn't walk then he ought to pay for the 


cab himself. They call the carriages "buggies" at Bom- 
bay. However, when the old Parsee had to pay the bill 
next month there it was: "Buggy so many rupees." 
He told his Captain he would pay that once but never 
again; and not finding it in the items of the bill pre- 
sented the following month he gave the Captain his cheque. 
As the Captain put it in his pocket he said: "Buggy's 
there!" That's what happened to the Treasury and the 

I had a friend in the Accountant-General's Depart- 
ment called "The Mole." He taught me how to hide the 
money. I may observe I was called a "Mole." It wasn't 
a bad name. I was not seen or heard, but I was recog- 
nised by upheavals "There is that damned fellow Fisher 
again, I will swear to it!" But, as David said, "Let us be 
abundantly satisfied" that we have such among us as Mc- 
Kennas and Runcimans. I should like to let those ferrets 
loose now. However, "Out of Evil Good comes." Now 
comes a pardonable digression, I think. 

Here's a letter I got yesterday, September 9th, 1919, 
coming from Russia. Now suppose we had not made the 
very damnedest mess of Russia ever made in this world 
with Lord Milner first going there and then Mr. Hen- 
derson, the head of the Labour Party, ambassadoring (at 
least, he says so) and this nation in every possible con- 
ceivable way alienating the Russian people then I never 
could have had this magnificent letter from Russia to give 
you. Just observing, before I quote it: Supposing a 
French Army landed at Dover to help us subjugate Ire- 
land? I guess we should all forget whether we were 
Tories or Carsons or Smillies, and unite to get this French 
army out of our Archangel, and the Entente Cordial 
would be "in the cart," as the vulgar say. Well, this is 
the letter which does my heart good. It is from a young 


lad in an English man-of-war, now off St. Petersburg. 
He is writing of the recent defeat of the Russian fleet 
there : 

"There has been such a fight. I was only a looker-on. 
I was furious. Kronstadt was attacked by our motor 
boats each carrying two torpedoes" [by the way, I was 
vilified for introducing motor boats] "and seaplanes with 
destroyers backing them up" [isn't it awful 1 I introduced 
destroyers also]. "Two Russian battleships, a Depot ship 
and a Destroyer Leader were torpedoed. 

"Our motor boats were MAGNIFICENT! 

"I nearly cried with pride at belonging to the same 

"There has been nothing like it in the whole War. 

"I would rather take part in a thing like that than 
be .Prime Minister of England. You would have been 
so proud if you could have seen them." 

The letter is to the boy's mother. On it is written, 
by him who sends it me, "The Nelson touch, I think!" 





2 Corinthians, iii, 14. 

I COMPABED this morning early what I had formerly 
written on the subject of Personalities with what I said 
to you yesterday on the same subject in my peripatetic 
dictation I can't recognise what is in type for the same 
as what I spoke. 

This morning I get a letter from Lord Rosebery. 
Lord Rosebery is, I think, in a way attached to me. In 
fact he must be, or I should not have drunk so much of 
his splendid champagne! Now you don't call me "frisky" 
when I walk up and down talking to you; and although 
he reads the actual living words I say to you, yet when 
he sees the beastly thing in print he calls me "frisky" ! I 
keep on saying this ad nauseam, to keep on hammering 
it not only into you but into the public at large who hap- 
pen to read these words that no printed effusion can 
ever represent what, when face to face, cannot help con- 
veying conviction to the hearer. And so we come to the 
same old story, that the written word is an inanimate 
corpse. You want to have the Soul of the Man pouring 
out to you his personality. 

And here again, when I contrasted the notes which 



I spoke from with what I said, again I find I don't recog- 
nise them Well! enough of that! 

Now if anyone thinks that in this chapter they are 
going to see Sport and that I am going to trounce Mr. 
Winston Churchill and abuse Mr. Asquith and put it all 
upon poor Kitchener they are woefully mistaken. It was 
a Miasma that brought about the Dardanelles Adven- 
ture. A Miasma like the invisible, scentless, poisonous 
deadly poisonous gas with which my dear friend Brock, 
of imperishable memory and Victoria Cross bravery, 
wickedly massacred at Zeebrugge, was going (in unison 
with a plan I had) to polish off not alone every human 
soul in Heligoland and its surrounding fleet sheltered un- 
der its guns from the Grand Fleet, but every rabbit. It 
was much the same gas the German put into the "In- 
flexible" (which I commanded) in 1882 to light the en- 
gine-room. When it escaped it was scentless; instead of 
going up, as it ought to have done, it went down, and 
permeated the double-bottom, and we kept hauling up 
unconscious men like poisoned miners out of a coalpit. 
Gas catastrophe Yes ! Brock was lost to us at the mas- 
sacre of Zeebrugge lost uselessly; for no such folly was 
ever devised by fools as such an operation as that of Zee- 
brugge divorced from military co-operation on land. 
What were the bravest of the brave massacred for? Was 
it glory? Is the British Navy a young Navy requiring 
glory? When 25 per cent, of our Officers were killed a 
few days since, sinking two Bolshevik battleships, etc., 
and heroic on their own element, the sea, we all thank 
God, as we should do, that Nelson, looking down on us 
in Trafalgar Square, feels his spirit is still with us. But 
for sailors to go on shore and attack forts, which Nelson 
said no sailor but a lunatic would do, without those on 
shore of the military persuasion to keep what you have 


stormed, is not only silly but it's murder and it's criminal. 
Also by the time Zeebrugge was attacked, the German 
submarine had got far beyond a fighting radius that re- 
quired this base near the English coast. As Dean Inge 
says: "We must hope that in the Paradise of brave men 
the knowledge is mercifully hid from them that they died 
in vain." 

Again, this is a digression but such must be the na- 
ture of this book when speaking ore rotundo and from the 
fulness of a disgusted heart, that such Lions should be led 
by such Asses. The book can't convey my feelings, how- 
ever carefully my good friend the typewriter is taking it 
down. All the quill drivers, the ink spillers, and the 
Junius-aping journalists will jeer at you as the Editor, 
and say, "Why didn't you stop him? Where's the argu- 
ment? Where's the lucid exposition? Where's the subtle 
dialectician who will talk a bird out of a tree? Where is 
this wonderful personality I'm told of, who fooled King 
Edward, and ravished virgins, and preached the Gospel 
(so he says) ? Like Gaul, he is divided into three parts; 
we don't see one of them." 

We'll get along with the Dardanelles now. All this 
will make pulp for paper for the National Review. 

"Imperial Caesar dead and turned to clay 
Now stops a hole to keep the wind away.' ' 

Well, I left off at the "Miasma" that, imperceptibly 
to each of them in the War Council, floated down on them 
with rare subtle dialectical skill, and proved so incontest- 
ably to them that cutting off the enemy's big toe in the 
East was better than stabbing him to the heart in the 
West; and that the Dardanelles was better than the Baltic, 
and that Gallipoli knocked spots off the Kiel Canal, or 


a Russian Army landed by the British Fleet on the Baltic 
shore of Schleswig-Holstein. 

Without any doubt, the "beseechings" of the Grand 
Duke Nicholas in the Caucasus on January 2nd, 1915, 1 
addressed to Kitchener in such soldiery terms, moved 
that great man's heart; for say what you will, Kitchener 
was a great man. But he was a great deception, all the 
same, inasmuch as he couldn't do what a lot of people 
thought he could do. Like Moses, he was a great Com- 
missariat Officer, but he was not a Napoleon or a Moltke ; 
he was a Carnot in excelsis, and he was the facile dupe 
of his own failings. But "Speak well of those who treat 
you well." I went to him one evening at 5 p.m., with 
Mr. Churchill's knowledge, and said to him as First Sea 
Lord of the Admiralty that if his myrmidons did not 
cease that same night from seducing men from the pri- 
vate shipyards to become "Cannon-fodder" I was going 
to resign at 6 p.m. I explained to him the egregious folly 
of not pressing on our shipbuilding to its utmost limits. 
He admitted the soft impeachment as to the seduction; 
and there, while I waited, he wrote the telegram calling 
off the seducers. If only that had been stuck to after 
I left the Admiralty, we shouldn't be rationed now in 
sugar nearly a year after the Armistice, nor should we 
be bidding fair to become a second Carthage. We left 
our element, the sea, to make ourselves into a conscript 
nation fighting on the Continent with four million soldiers 
out of a population of forty millions. More than all the 
other nations' was our Army. 

The last words of Mr. A. G. Gardiner's article about 

*On January 2, 1915, Russia asked for a demonstration against the Turks 
in order to relieve the pressure they were putting on the Russian forces in the 
Caucasus. Next day the War Office cabled a promise, through the Foreign 
Office, that this should be done. Before he sent the cable Lord Kitchener 
wrote to Mr. Churchill: "The only place that a demonstration might have 
some effect in stopping reinforcements going East would be the Dardanelles." 


him who is now dictating are these: "He is fighting his 
last great battle. And his foe is the veteran of the rival 
service. For in his struggle to establish conscription Lord 
Roberts's most formidable antagonist is the author of the 
'Dreadnought.' " 

Well, once more resuming the Dardanelles story. 
These side-lights really illuminate the situation. These 
Armies we were raising incited us to these wild-cat ex- 
peditions. I haven't reckoned them up, but there must 
have been a Baker's Dozen of 'em going on. Now, do 
endeavour to get this vital fact into your mind. We 
are an Island. Every soldier that wants to go anywhere 
out of England a sailor has got to carry him there on 
his back. 

Consequently, every soldier that you raise or enlist, or 
recruit, or whatever the proper word is, unless he is abso- 
lutely part of a Lord Lieutenant's Army, never to go 
out of England and only recruited, like the Militia that 
splendid force! to be called up only in case of invasion 
as I say, every soldier that is recruited on any other 
basis means so much tonnage in shipping that has to be 
provided, not only to take him to the Continent; but it's 
got to be kept ready to bring him back, in case of his 
being wounded, and all the time to take him provisions, 
ammunition, stores. Those vessels again have to have 
other vessels to carry out coal for those vessels, and those 
colliers have again to be supplemented by other colliers 
to take the place of those removed from the normal trade, 
and the coal mines themselves necessitate more miners 
or the miners' working beyond the hours of fatigue to 
bring forth the extra coal; or else the commercial work 
of the nation gets diminished and your economic resources 
get crippled, and that of itself carried in extremis means 
finishing the war. As a matter of fact, it has nearly fin- 


ished the English Nation the crippling of our economic 
resources by endeavouring to swell ourselves out like the 
Frog in ^E sop's Fables, and become a great continental 
Power forgetting the Heaven-sent gift of an incom- 
parable Nary dating from the time of Alfred the Great, 
and God's providing a breakwater 600 miles long (the 
British Islands) in front of the German Coast to stop the 
German access to the ocean, and thus by easy blockade 
killing him from the sea as he was killed eventually. Alas ! 
what happened? In the House of Commons the British 
Navy is called a subsidiary Service. And then Lord Rose- 
bery doesn't like my "frisking"; and cartoons represent 
that I want a job; and fossil Admirals call me immodest! 

Mr. Churchill was behind no one both in his enthusiasm 
for the Baltic project, and also in his belief that the de- 
cisive theatre of the war was beyond doubt in Northern 
waters; and both he and Mr. Lloyd George, the Chan- 
cellor of the Exchequer, magnificently responded to the 
idea of constructing a great Armada of 612 vessels, to be 
rapidly built mostly in a few weeks and only a few ex- 
tending over a few months to carry out the great pur- 
pose; and I prepared my own self with my own hands 
alone, to preserve secrecy, all the arrangements for land- 
ing three great armies at different places two of them 
being feints that could be turned into a reality. Also I 
made all the preparations, shortly before these expeditions 
were to start, to practise them embarking at Southampton 
and disembarking at Stokes Bay, so that those who were 
going to work the Russian Armies would be practised in 
the art, having seen the experiment conducted on a scale 
of twelve inches to the foot with 50,000 men. 

(We once embarked 8,000 soldiers on board the Medi- 
terranean Fleet in nineteen minutes, and the fleet steamed 
out and landed them at similar speed. Old Abdul Hamid, 


the Sultan, heard of it, and he complimented me on there 
being such a Navy. That was the occasion when a red- 
haired, short, fat Major, livid with rage, complained to 
me on the beach that a bluejacket had shoved him into 
the boat and said to him, "Hurry up, you bloody lobster, 
or I'll be 'ungl" I explained to the Major that the man 
would have been hanged; he was responsible for getting 
the boat filled and shoved off in so many seconds.) 

I remember that at the War Council held on January 
28th, 1915, at 11.30 a.m., Mr. Churchill announced that 
the real purpose of the Navy was to obtain access to the 
Baltic, and he illustrated that there were three naval 
phases. The first phase was the clearing of the outer seas ; 
and that had been accomplished. The second phase was 
the clearing of the North Sea. And the third phase was 
the clearing of the Baltic. Mr. Churchill laid stress on 
the importance of this latter operation, because Germany 
always had been and still was very much afraid of being 
attacked in the Baltic. For this purpose special vessels 
were needed and the First Sea Lord, Lord Fisher, had 
designed cruisers, etc., etc., meaning the Armada. Mr. 
Lloyd George said to me at another meeting of the War 
Council, with all listening: "How many battleships shall 
we lose in the Dardanelles?" "A dozen!" said I, "but I 
prefer to lose them elsewhere." In dictating this account 
I can't represent his face when I said this. 

Here I insert a letter on the subject which I wrote to 
Lord Cromer in October, 1916: 


October llth, 1916. 


To-day Sir F. Cawley asked me to reconcile Kitch- 
ener's statement of May 14th at the War Council that 
the Admiralty proposed the Dardanelles enterprise with 


my assertion that he (Kitchener) did it. Please see ques- 
tion No. 1119. Mr. Churchill is speaking, and Lord 
Kitchener said to him "could we not for instance make a 
demonstration at the Dardanelles?" 

I repeat that before Kitchener's letter of Jan. 2nd to 
Mr. Churchill there was no Dardanelles! Mr. Churchill 
had been rightly wrapped up in the splendid project of 
the British Army sweeping along the sea in association 
with the British Fleet. See Mr. Churchill at Question 
No. 1179. 

"The advance of the (British) Army along the Coast 
was an attractive operation, but we could not get it settled. 
Sir John French wanted very much to do it, but it fell 

See Lord Fisher, War Council of Jan. 13th! Sir John 
French then present (3 times he came over about it] 
"Lord Fisher demurred to any attempt to attack Zee- 
brugge without the co-operation of the British Army 
along the coast." 

As to the Queen Elizabeth, Mr. Churchill is right in 
saying there was great tension between Kitchener and 
myself. He came over to the Admiralty and when I 
said fe if the ' Queen Elizabeth' didn't leave the Dardanelles 
that night I should!" he got up from the table and he 
left! and wrote an unpleasant letter about me to the Prime 
Minister! Lucky she did leave!! The German subma- 
rine prowling around for a fortnight looking for her (and 
neglecting all the other battleships) blew up her dupli- 
cate wooden image. 

Yours, etc., 

(Signed) FISHER. 

Mr. Churchill is quite correct. I backed him up till 
I resigned. I would do the same again! He had cour- 
age and imagination! He was a War Man! 

If you doubt my dictum that the Cabinet Ministers 
only were members of the War Council and the rest of 
us voice tubes to convey information and advice, ask Han- 
key to come before you again and state the status! 

Otherwise the experts would be the Government! 


Kindly read what Mr. Asquith said on Nov. 2nd, 1915, 
in Parliament. (See p. 70.) 

(We had constructed a fleet of dummy battleships to 
draw off the German submarines. This squadron ap- 
peared with effect in the Atlantic and much confused the 
enemy. ) 

Mr. Asquith also was miasma-ed; and it's not allow- 
able to describe the discussion that he, I, and Mr. Churchill 
had in the Prime Minister's private room, except so far 
as to observe that Mr. Churchill had been strongly in 
favour of military co-operation with the fleet on the Bel- 
gian Coast, and Sir John French, on three different visits 
to the War Council, had assented to carrying out the 
operation, provided he had another Division added to his 
Force. This project so fruitful as it would have been 
in its results at the early stage of the war was, I under- 
stand, prevented by three deterrents: (1) Lord Kitch- 
ener's disinclination; (2) The French didn't want the 
British Army to get into Belgium; (3) The Dardanelles 
came along. 

I objected to any Naval action on the Belgian Coast 
without such military co-operation. Those flat shores of 
the Belgian coast, enfiladed by the guns of the accom- 
panying British Fleet, rendered that enterprise feasible, 
encouraging and, beyond doubt, deadly to the enemy's 
sea flank. Besides preventing Zeebrugge from being 
fortified and the Belgian Coast being made use of as a 
jumping-off place for the air raids on London and else- 
where, with guns capable of ranging such an enormous 
distance as those mounted in the Monitors, we could have 
enfiladed with great effect all attacks by the Germans. 

When we got to the Council table the members hav- 
ing been kept waiting a considerable time the Prime 


Minister gave the decision that the Dardanelles project 
must proceed; and as I rose from the Council Table 
Kitchener followed me, and was so earnest and even emo- 
tional 1 that I should return that I said to myself after 
some delay: "Well, we can withdraw the ships at any 
moment, so long as the Military don't land," and I suc- 
cumbed. I was mad on that Armada of 612 vessels, so 
generously fostered by Mr. Lloyd George and Mr. 
Churchill and sustained by the Prime Minister. They 
were of all sorts and sizes but alas! as they reached com- 
pletion they began to be gradually perverted and diverted 
to purposes for which they were unfitted and employed 
in waters to which they were unsuited. Nevertheless they 
made (some of them) the Germans flee for their lives, and 
with such a one as the gallant Arbuthnot or the splendid 
Hood, who gave their lives for nothing at Jutland, we 
might have had another Quiberon. 

To resume : I gave Lord Cromer, the Chairman of the 
Dardanelles Commission, a precis of the Dardanelles case. 
It doesn't appear in the Report of the Dardanelles Com- 
mission. I forgive him that, because, when in his prime, 
he did me a good deed. It is worth relating. I entreated 
him to cut a channel into Alexandria Harbour deep 
enough for a Dreadnought; and he did it, though it cost 

1 "The dramatic scene which followed may one day furnish material for 
the greatest historical picture of the war. Lord Fisher sat and listened to the 
men who knew nothing about it and heard one after another pass opinion in 
favour of a venture to which he was opposed. He rote abruptly from the 
table and made as if to leave the room. 

"The tall figure of Lord Kitchener rose and followed him. The two stood 
by the window for some time in conversation and then both took their seats 
again. In Lord Fisher's own words: 'I reluctantly gare in to Lord Kitchener 
and resumed my seat.' 

"Mr. Asquith saw that drama enacted, and Mr. Asquith knew that it arose 
out of Lord Fisher's opposition to the scheme under discussion. But he 
allowed his colleagues on the Council to reach their conclusions without draw- 
ing from the expert his opinion for their guidance. The monstrous decision 
was therefore taken without it. But they all knew it mch a scene could not 
occur without everyone knowing the cause." 


a million sterling, and thus gave us a base of incalculable 
advantage in certain contingencies. 

I will now shortly pass in review the Dardanelles state- 
ment that I gave Lord Cromer. Those who will read this 
book won't want to be fooled with figures. I give a fig- 
urative synopsis. Of course, as I told the Dardanelles 
Commission (Cromer thought it judicious to omit my 
comment, I believe), the continuation of the Dardanelles 
adventure beyond the first operations, confined solely to 
the ships of the fleet which could be withdrawn at any 
moment and the matter ended the continuation, I ex- 
plained to the Dardanelles Commission, was largely due 
to champion liars. It must ever be so in these matters. 
I presume that's how it came about that two Cabinet Min- 
isters no doubt so fully fed up with the voice tube, as it 
has been described told the nation that we were within 
a few yards of victory at the Dardanelles, and so justi- 
fied and encouraged a continuance of that deplorable mas- 
sacre. However, no politician regards truth from the 
same point of view as a gentleman. He puts on the spec- 
tacles of his Party. The suppressio veri and the suggestio 
falsi flourish in politics like the green baize tree. 

Sworn to no Party of no Sect am I: 
I can't be silent and I will not lie. 

Before the insertion of the following narrative pre- 
pared by me at the time of the Dardanelles Commission 
I wish to interject this remark: When sailors get round 
a Council Board they are almost invariably mute. The 
Politicians who are round that Board are not mute ; they 
never would have got there if they had been mute. That's 
why, for the life of me, I can't understand what on earth 
made David gay in the Psalms "A man full of words shall 
not prosper on the Earth." They are the very ones who 


do prosper! It shows what a wonderful fellow St. Paul 
was; he was a bad talker and yet he got on. He gives a 
bit of autobiography, and tells us that his bodily presence 
was weak and his speech contemptible, though his letters 
were weighty and powerful. However, in that case, an- 
other Gospel was being preached, where the worldly wise 
were confounded by the worldly foolish. 

While my evidence was being taken before the Dar- 
danelles Commission, the Secretary (Mears; was splendid 
in his kindness to me, and my everlasting gratitude is 
with the "Dauntless Three" who broke away from their 
colleagues and made an independent report. They were 
Mr. Fisher formerly Prime Minister of Australia (a 
fellow labourer), Sir Thomas Mackenzie (High Commis- 
sioner for New Zealand), and Mr. Roch, M.P. Their 
Report was my life-buoy; a precis of their Report, so far 
as it affects me and which I consider unanswerable, estab- 
lishes that it is the duty of any Officer, however highly 
placed, to subordinate his views to that of the Govern- 
ment, unless he considers such a course so vitally antag- 
onistic to his Country's interests as to compel him to re- 
sign. I know of no line of action so criminally outrageous 
and subversive of all discipline as that of public wran- 
gling between a subordinate and his superior, or the Board 
of Admiralty and an Admiral afloat, or the War Office 
and their Commander-in-Chief in the Field. 

This Dardanelles Commission reminds me of another 
"cloudy and dark day," as Ezekiel would describe it, when 
five Cabinet Ministers, at the instigation of an Admiral 
recently serving, held an enquiry absolutely technical and 
professional on matters about which not one of them could 
give an authoritative opinion but only an opinion which 
regarded political opportunism an enquiry neither more 
nor less than of my professional capacity as First Sea Lord 


of the Admiralty. The trained mind of Mr. McKenna 
only just succeeded in saving me from being thrown to 
the wolves of the hustings. But it has inflicted a mortal 
wound on the discipline of the Navy. Hereafter no 
mutinous Admiral need despair (only provided he has 
political and social influence) of obtaining countenance 
for an onslaught against his superiors; and we may yet 
lose the decisive battle of the world in consequence. 

The following is my narrative of my connexion with 
the Dardanelles Operations. 

"The position will not be clear and, indeed, will be 
incomprehensible, if it be not first explained how very 
close an official intimacy existed between Mr. Winston 
Churchill and Lord Fisher for very many years previous 
to the Dardanelles episode, and how Lord Fisher thus 
formed the conviction that Mr. Churchill's audacity, cour- 
age, and imagination specially fitted him to be a War 

"When, in the autumn of 1911, Mr. Winston Churchill 
became First Lord of the Admiralty, Lord Fisher had 
retired from the position of First Sea Lord which he had 
occupied from October 21st, 1904, to January 25th, 1910, 
amidst great turmoil all the time. During Lord Fisher's 
tenure of office as First Lord, vast Naval reforms were 
carried out, including the scrapping of some 160 ships of 
no fighting value, and great naval economies were effected, 
and all this time (except for one unhappy lapse when 
Mr. Churchill resisted the additional 'Dreadnought' build- 
ing programme) Mr. Winston Churchill was in close as- 
sociation with these drastic reforms, and gave Lord Fisher 
all his sympathy when hostile criticism was both malig- 
nant and perilous. For this reason, on Mr. Churchill's 
advent as First Lord of the Admiralty in the autumn of 
1911, Lord Fisher most gladly complied with his request 


to return home from Italy to help him to proceed with 
that great task that had previously occupied Lord Fisher 
for six years as First Sea Lord, namely, the preparation 
for a German War which Lord Fisher had predicted in 
1905 would certainly occur in August, 1914, in a written 
memorandum, and afterwards also personally to Sir M. 
Hankey, the Secretary of the Committee of Imperial De- 
fence, necessitating that drastic revolution in all things 
Naval which brought 88 per cent, of the British Fleet into 
close proximity with Germany and made its future battle 
ground in the North Sea its drill ground, weeding out of 
the Navy inefficiency in ships, officers, and men, and ob- 
taining absolute fighting sea supremacy by an unparal- 
leled advance in types of fighting vessels. 

"Mr. Churchill then at Lord Fisher's request did a 
fine thing in so disposing his patronage as First Lord as 
to develop Sir John Jellicoe into his Nelsonic position. 
So that when the day of war came Sir John Jellicoe be- 
came admiralissimo in spite of great professional opposi- 
tion. . . . 

"This increased Lord Fisher's regard for Mr. 
Churchill, and on July 30th, 1914, at his request, Lord 
Fisher spent hours with him on that fifth day before war 
was declared and by his wish saw Mr. Balfour to explain 
to him the Naval situation. This is just mentioned to 
show the close official intimacy existing between Mr. 
Churchill and Lord Fisher, and when, on October 20th, 
1914, Mr. Churchill asked Lord Fisher to become First 
Sea Lord he gladly assented to co-operating with him in 
using the great weapon Lord Fisher had helped to forge. 

"Mr. Churchill and Lord Fisher worked in absolute 
accord until it came to the question of the Dardanelles, 
when Lord Fisher's instinct absolutely forbade him to 
give it any welcome. But finding himself the one solitary 


person dissenting from the project in the War Council, 
and knowing it to be of vital importance that he should 
personally see to the completion of the great shipbuild- 
ing programme of 612 vessels initiated on his recent ad- 
vent to the Admiralty as First Sea Lord, also being con- 
fident that all these vessels could only be finished rapidly 
if he remained, Lord Fisher allowed himself to be per- 
suaded by Lord Kitchener on January 28th, 1915, to 
continue as First Sea Lord. That point now remains to 
be related in somewhat greater detail. 

"To begin with: When exactly 10 years previously 
Lord Fisher became First Sea Lord, on October 20th, 
1904, that very day occurred the Dogger Bank incident 
with Russia, and the Prime Minister made a speech at 
Southampton that seemed to make war with Russia a 
certainty ; so Lord Fisher, as First Sea Lord, immediately 
looked into the Forcing of the Dardanelles in the event 
of Russia's movements necessitating British action in the 
Dardanelles. He then satisfied himself that, even with 
military co-operation, it was mighty hazardous, and he so 
represented it at that time. The proceedings of the Com- 
mittee of Imperial Defence, however, will furnish full de- 
tails respecting the Dardanelles, especially Field-Marshal 
Lord Nicholson's remarks when Director of Military 
Operations, and also those of Sir N. Lyttelton when Chief 
of the General Staff. 

"But Lord Fisher had had the great advantage of 
commanding a battleship under Admiral Sir Geoffrey 
Phipps Hornby when, during the Russo-Turkish War, 
that celebrated Flag Officer lay with the British Fleet 
near Constantinople, and Lord Fisher listened at the feet 
of that Naval Gamaliel when he supported Nelson's dic- 
tum that no sailor but a fool would ever attack a fort! 
Nevertheless, Nelson did attack Copenhagen was really 


beaten, but he bluffed the Danish Crown Prince and came 
out ostensibly as victor. Nelson's Commander-in-Chief, 
Sir Hyde Parker, knew Nelson was beaten and signalled 
to him to retreat, but Nelson disobeyed orders as he did 
at St. Vincent and the Nile, and with equal judgment. 

"We might have done the same bluff with the Turks, 
had promptitude and decision directed us, but procrasti- 
nation, indecision, and vacillation dogged us instead. The 
29th Division oscillated for weeks between France and 
Turkey. (See below my notes of the War Council Meet- 
tings of February 19th and 24th.) 

"Note. See Mr. Churchill's statement at the 19th 
Meeting of the War Council on May 14th, 1915, that had 
it been known three months previously that an English 
army of 100,000 men would have been available for the 
attack on the Dardanelles, the naval attack would never 
have been undertaken. 

"The War Council met on May 14th, 1915, and cer- 
tain steps proposed to be taken by Mr. Churchill imme- 
diately afterwards, decided Lord Fisher that he could no 
longer support the Dardanelles operations. He could not 
go further in this project with Mr. Churchill, and was 
himself convinced that we should seize that moment to 
give up the Dardanelles operations. So Lord Fisher 

"Lord Fisher's parting with Mr. Churchill was pa- 
thetic, but it was the only way out. When the Prime 
Minister read to Lord Fisher Lord Kitchener's letter to 
the Prime Minister attacking Lord Fisher for withdraw- 
ing the 'Queen Elizabeth' from certain destruction at the 
Dardanelles, Lord Fisher then realised how splendid had 
been Mr. Churchill's support of him as to her withdrawal. 
A few days afterwards the German submarine that had 
been hovering round the British Fleet for a fortnight 


blew up the wooden image of the super-Dreadnought we 
had sent out there as a bait for the German submarines, 
showing how the Germans realised the 'Queen Eliza- 
beth's' value in letting all the other older battleships alone 
for about a fortnight till they thought they really had 
the 'Queen Elizabeth' in this wooden prototype ! 

"It must be emphasised on Mr. Churchill's behalf that 
he had the whole Naval opinion at the Admiralty as well 
as the Naval opinion at the Dardanelles with him Lord 
Fisher was the only dissentient. 

"It must be again repeated that though Lord Fisher 
was so decidedly against the Dardanelles operations from 
the very first, yet he was very largely influenced to re- 
main because he was convinced it was of vital importance 
to the nation to carry out the large building programme 
initiated by him, which was to enable the Navy to deal 
such a decisive blow in the decisive theatre (in Northern 
Waters) as would shorten the war by the great projects 
alluded to by Mr. Churchill at the 9th meeting of the 
War Council on January 28th, 1915, when he described 
the Three Naval phases of the War, leading to our occu- 
pation of the Baltic as being the supreme end to be at- 

"Had Lord Fisher maintained his resignation on 28th 
January, 1915, the Dardanelles enterprise would certainly 
still have gone on, because it was considered a matter of 
vital political expediency (see Mr. Balfour's memoran- 
dum of 24th February, 1915), but those 612 new vessels 
would not have been built, or they would have been so 
delayed as to be useless. As it was, by Lord Fisher's 
leaving the Admiralty even so late as May 22nd, 1915, 
there was great delay in the completion of the five fast 
Battle Cruisers and in the laying down of further De- 
stroyers and Submarines, and, in fact, four large Moni- 


tors (some of which had been advanced one thousand 
tons) that had been considerably advanced were stopped 
altogether for a time and the further building of fast Bat- 
tle Cruisers was given up. Lord Fisher had prepared a 
design for a very fast Battle Cruiser carrying six 20-inch 
guns, and the model was completed. She was of excep- 
tionally light draught of water and of exceptionally high 
speed. He had arranged for the manufacture of these 
20-inch guns. 

"It has also to be emphasised that that programme of 
new vessels owed its inception to a great plan, sketched 
out in secret memoranda, which it can be confidently as- 
serted would have produced such great military results 
as would certainly have ended the war in 1915. 

"These plans were in addition to that concurred in by 
Sir John French in his three visits to the War Council 
in November, 1914, for joint action of the British Army 
and the British Fleet on the Belgian Coast. 

"Note. See Note to 8th meeting of the War Council 
on January 13th, 1915, where Lord Fisher demurs to any 
Naval action without the co-operation of the British Army 
along the coast." 

I quote here a report of the opinion of Mr. Andrew 
Fisher, the High Commissioner of Australia, and for- 
merly Prime Minister of Australia; a member of the Dar- 
danelles Commission, on the duty of departmental ad- 
visers : 

"I am of opinion it would seal the fate of responsible 
government if servants of the State were to share the 
responsibility of Ministers to Parliament and to the people 
on matters of public policy. The Minister has command 
of the opinions and views of all officers of the department 
he administers on matters of public policy. Good stew- 


ardship demands from Ministers of the Crown frank, fair, 
full statements of all opinions of trusted experienced offi- 
cials to colleagues when they have direct reference to mat- 
ters of high policy." I give prominence to this because 
Ministers, and Ministers only, must be responsible to the 

If they find themselves in conflict with their expert 
advisers they should sack the advisers or themselves resign. 
An official, whether a Sea Lord or a junior clerk having 
been asked a question by his immediate chief and given 
his answer and the chief acts contrary to advice should 
not be subjected to reprimand for not stating to the board 
of directors that he disagrees with his chief or that he has 
given a reluctant consent. // there is blame it rests with 
the Minister and not with his subordinates. 

"I dissent in the strongest terms'' says Mr. Fisher in 
his Minority Report, "from any suggestion that the De- 
partmental Adviser of a Minister in his company at a 
Council meeting should express any views at all other than 
to the Minister and through him unless specifically invited 
to do so" 

Sir Thomas Mackenzie expresses exactly the same 

Mr. Asquith, in the House of Commons on November 
2, 1915, said: 

"It is the duty of the Government of any Govern- 
ment to rely very largely upon the advice of its military 
and naval counsellors ; but in the long run, a Government 
which is worthy of the name, which is adequate in the dis- 
charge of the trust which the nation reposes in it, must 
bring all these things into some kind of proportion one 
to the other, and sometimes it is not only expedient, but 
necessary, to run risks and to encounter dangers which 
pure naval or military policy would warn you against." 

The Government and the War Council knew my opin- 
ion as I told the Dardanelles Commission, it was known 

William Nicholson 



By kind permission of "The Pall Mall Gazette' 


"This bird has a somewhat long bill and is equipped with a brilliant blue 
back and tail; the latter not of sufficient length to be in the way. Its usual 
cry is much like the typical cry of the family, but besides this it gives a low, 
hoarse croak from time to time when seated in the shadows. Although ex- 
clusively a water bird, it is not unfrequently found at some distance from 
any water. It is very wary, keeping a good lookout, and defends its breeding 
place with great courage and daring." Zoological Studies. 


Lord Fisher as Principal Aide-de-Camp. 



to all. It was known even to the charwomen at the Ad- 
miralty. It was my duty to acquiesce cheerfully and do 
my best, but when the moment came that there was 
jeopardy to the Nation I resigned. 

Such is the stupidity of the General Public and such 
was the stupidity of Lord Cromer that it was not real- 
ized there would be an end of Parliamentary Government 
and of the People's will, therefore, being followed, if ex- 
perts were able to override a Government Policy. Sea 
Lords are the servants of the Government. Having given 
their advice, then it's their duty to carry out the com- 
mands of the political party in power until the moment 
comes when they feel they can no longer support a policy 
which they are convinced is disastrous. 

Here follows a summary for the Chairman of the Dar- 
danelles Commission of my evidence (handed to Lord 
Cromer, but not circulated by him or printed in the Re- 
port of the Commission) : 

"Mr. Churchill and I worked in absolute accord at 
the Admiralty until it came to the question of the Dar- 

"I was absolutely unable to give the Dardanelles pro- 
posal any welcome, for there was the Nelsonic dictum that 
'any sailor who attacked a fort was a fool.' 

"My direct personal knowledge of the Dardanelles 
problem dates back many years. I had had the great ad- 
vantage of commanding a .battleship under Admiral Sir 
Geoffrey Phipps Hornby when, during the Russo-Turk- 
ish War, that celebrated flag officer took the Fleet through 
the Dardanelles. 

"I had again knowledge of the subject as Commander- 
in- Chief of the Mediterranean Fleet for three years dur- 
ing the Boer War, when for a long period the Fleet un- 
der my command lay at Lemnos off the mouth of the 
Dardanelles, thus affording me means of close study of 
the feasibility of forcing the Straits. 


"When I became First Sea Lord on October 20th, 
1904, there arrived that very day the news of the Dogger 
Bank incident with Russia. 

"In my official capacity, in view of the possibility of a 
war with Russia, I immediately examined the question 
of the forcing of the Dardanelles, and I satisfied myself 
at that time that even with military co-operation the 
operation was mighty hazardous. 

"Basing myself on the experience gained over so many 
years, when the project was mooted in the present War 
my opinion was that the attempt to force the Dardanelles 
would not succeed. 

"I was the only member of the War Council who dis- 
sented from the project, but I did not carry my dissent 
to the point of resignation because I understood that there 
were overwhelming political reasons why the attempt at 
least should be made. 

"Moreover, I felt it to be of vital importance that I 
should personally see to the completion of the great ship- 
building programme which was then under construction, 
which had been initiated by me on my advent to the Ad- 
miralty, and which included no less than 612 vessels. 

"The change in my opinion as to the relative impor- 
tance of the probable failure in the Dardanelles began 
when the ever-increasing drain upon the Fleet, as the re- 
sult of the prosecution of the Dardanelles undertaking, 
reached a point at which in my opinion it destroyed the 
possibility of other naval operations which I had in view, 
and even approached to jeopardising our naval supremacy 
in the decisive theatre of the War. 

"I may be pressed with the question why did I not 
carry my objections to the point of resignation when the 
decision was first reached to attack the Dardanelles with 
naval forces. 

"In my judgment it is not the business of the chief 
technical advisers of the Government to resign because 
their advice is not accepted, unless they are of opinion 
that the operation proposed must lead to disastrous re- 


"The attempt to force the Dardanelles, though a fail- 
ure, would not have been disastrous so long as the ships 
employed could be withdrawn at any moment, and only 
such vessels were engaged, as in the beginning of the 
operations was in fact the case, as could be spared with- 
out detriment to the general service of the Fleet. 

"I may next be asked whether I made any protest at 
the War Council when the First Lord proposed the Dar- 
danelles enterprise, or at any later date. 

"Mr. Churchill knew my opinion. I did not think it 
would tend towards good relations between the First Lord 
and myself nor to the smooth working of the Board of 
Admiralty to raise objections in the War Council's dis- 
cussions. My opinion being known to Mr. Churchill in 
what I regarded as the proper constitutional way, I pre- 
ferred thereafter to remain silent. 

"When the operation was undertaken my duty from 
that time onwards was confined to seeing that the Govern- 
ment plan was carried out as successfully as possible with 
the available means. 

"I did everything I could to secure its success, and 1 
only resigned when the drain it was- making on the re- 
sources of the Navy became so great as to jeopardise the 
major operations of the Fleet. 

"On May 14th, 1915, the War Council made it clear 
to me that the great projects in Northern waters which I 
had in view in laying down the Armada of new vessels 
were at an end, and the further drain on our naval re- 
sources foreshadowed that evening convinced me that I 
could no longer countenance the Dardanelles operations, 
and the next day I resigned. 

"It seemed to me that I was faced at last by a pro- 
gressive frustration of my main scheme of naval strategy. 

"Gradually the crowning work of war construction 
was being diverted and perverted from its original aim. 
The Monitors, for instance, planned for the banks and 
shallows of Northern waters, were sent off to the Mediter- 
ranean where they had never been meant to operate. 

"I felt I was right in remaining in office until this sit- 


nation, never contemplated at first by anyone, was ac- 
cepted by the War Council. I felt right in resigning on 
this decision. 

"My conduct and the interpretation of my responsi- 
bility I respectfully submit to the judgment of the Com- 
mittee. Perhaps I may be allowed to say that as regards 
the opinion I held I was right. 

October 7th, 1916." 

This is a letter which I wrote to Colonel Sir Maurice 
Hankey, Secretary of the War Council: 

September 1st, 1Q16. 


IN reply to your letter in which you propose to give 
only one extract concerning my hostility to the Darda- 
nelles enterprise, do you not think that the following 
words in the official Print of Proceedings of War Council 
should be inserted in your report in justice to me? 

"19th Meeting of the War Council, May 14>th, 1915 
Lord Fisher reminded the War Council that he had been 
no party to the Dardanelles operations. When the mat- 
ter was first under consideration he had stated his opinion 
to the Prime Minister at a private interview." 

The reason I abstained from any further pronounce- 
ment was stated. 

Yours, etc., 
(Signed) FISHEB. 

I note you will kindly testify to the accuracy of my 
statement that I left the Council table with the intention 
of resigning, but yielded to Kitchener's entreaty to return. 

Have you the letter I wrote on January 28th, 1915, to 
Mr. Asquith, beginning: 

"I am giving this note to Colonel Hankey to hand to 

you ," because in it occur these following 

words: "At any moment the great crisis may occur in 
the North Sea, for the German High Sea Fleet may be 


driven to fight by the German Military Headquarters, 
as part of some great German military operation." 

It looks as if Hindenburg might try such a coup now. 

I heard from Jellicoe a few days since that the Zeppe- 
lins now made the German submarines very formidable, 
and by way of example he pointed out that the "Fal- 
mouth" was torpedoed even when at a speed of 25 knots 
and zigzagging every five minutes. 

In some notes compiled on this matter I find it re- 
corded that I was present at the meeting on the 13th Jan- 
uary, when the plan was first proposed and approved in 
principle, and was also present at the meeting on the eve- 
ning of the 28th January, when Mr. Churchill announced 
that the Admiralty had decided to push on with the proj- 
ect. On the morning of the 28th January I said that I 
had understood that this question would not be raised to- 
day, and that the Prime Minister was well aware of my 
own views in regard to it. 

After the failure of the naval attack on the Narrows 
on the 18th March, I remarked at the meeting on the 19th 
March that I had always said that a loss of 12 battleships 
must be expected before the Dardanelles could be forced 
by the Navy alone, and that I still adhered to this view. 

Also, at the meeting held on the 14th May, I reminded 
the War Council that I had been no party to the Darda- 
nelles operations. When the matter was under considera- 
tion I had stated my opinion to the Prime Minister at a 
private interview. 

Some light is perhaps thrown on my general attitude 
towards naval attacks by the following remark, made at 
the meeting held on the 13th January, which related, not 
to the Dardanelles project, but to a proposed naval attack 
on Zeebrugge: 

I said that the Navy had only a limited number of 
battleships to lose, and would probably sustain losses in 
an attack on Zeebrugge. I demurred to any attempt to 
attack Zeebrugge without the co-operation of the Army 
along the coast. 


This note is here inserted because the Dardanelles 
operation interfered with the project of certain action in 
the Decisive Theatre of the War explained in a Memo- 
randum given to the Prime Minister on January 25th, 
1915, but it has been decided to be too secret for pub- 
lication even now, so it is not included in these papers. 

A Memorandum was also submitted by me on General 
Naval Policy, deprecating the use of Naval Force in 
Coast Operations unsupported by Military Force and 
emphasising the supreme importance of maintaining the 
unchallengeable strength of the Grand Fleet in the De- 
cisive Theatre. 


September 6th, 1016. 


I HAVE only just this very moment received your 
letter, dated September 4th, and its enclosure, for I had 
suddenly to leave the address you wrote to on important 
official business. . . . 

The Prime Minister and Kitchener knew from me on 
January 7th or January 8th that I objected to the Dar- 
danelles enterprise, but I admit this does not come under 
your official cognisance as Secretary of the War Council, 
consequently I cannot press you in the matter. 

If I ever am allowed hereafter to see what you have 
prepared for Lord Cromer's Committee of Inquiry I shall 
be better able to judge of its personal application to my- 

I was told yesterday by an influential Parliamentary 
friend that the likelihood was that all would emerge from 
the Dardanelles Inquiry as free from blame, except one 
person only Lord Fisher! That really would be comic! 
considering that I was the only sufferer by it, by loss of 
office and of an immense certainty in my mind of Big 
Things in the North Sea and Baltic by the unparalleled 
Armada we were building so marvellously quickly, e.g., 


submarines in five months instead of 14, and destroyers 
in nine months instead of 18! and immense fast Battle 
Cruisers with 18-inch and 15-inch guns in 11 months in- 
stead of two years! Why, it was the desolation of my 
life to leave the Admiralty at that moment! Knowing 
that once out I should never get back! The "wherefore" 
you know! 

Yours, etc., 
(Signed) FISHER, 
6th September, 1916. 


"The Baltic a German Lake." 


I AM here for a few days longer before rejoining my 
"Wise men" at Victory House 

"The World forgetting, 
By the World forgot!" 

but some Headlines in the newspapers have utterly upset 
me ! Terrible ! ! 

"The German Fleet to assist the Land operations in 
the Baltic." 

"Landing the German Army South of Reval." 

We are five times stronger at Sea than our enemies 
and here is a small Fleet that we could gobble up in a few 
minutes playing the great vital Sea part of landing an 
Army in the enemies' rear and probably capturing the 
Russian Capital by Sea! 

This is "Holding the ring" with a vengeance! 

Are we really incapable of a big Enterprise? 

I hear that a new order of Knighthood is on the tapis 
O.M.G. (Oh! My God!) Shower it on the Ad- 
miralty ! ! 



P.S. In War, you want "SURPRISE.'* 
To beget "SURPRISE" you want 
"IMAGINATION" to go to bed with 

Admiral von Spec's first words at the Falkland Islands 
when he saw the British Battle Cruisers were 

"Oh, what a surprise"! 

And he went to the bottom with 3,000 men and 11 ships, 
and not one man killed or wounded on board the "In- 


Notes. The first two meetings of the War Committee 
took place on August 5th and August 6th, 1914. 

Lord Fisher was appointed First Sea Lord on October 
30th, 1914. 

The third meeting of the War Council ( being the first 
after Lord Fisher's appointment) took place on Novem- 
ber 25th, 1914. 

3rd Meeting of the War Council, November 25th, 1914. 

Lord Fisher asked whether Greece might not attack 
Gallipoli in conjunction with Bulgaria. 

It was pointed out Bulgaria blocked the way. 

(Note. From his experience of three years as Com- 
mander-in-Chief of the Mediterranean Fleet, Lord Fisher 
had formed the conviction that Bulgaria was the key of 
the situation, and this he had pointed out to Lord Kitch- 
ener personally at the War Office.) 

4th Meeting of War Council, December 1st, 1914. 

Lord Fisher pressed for the adoption of the Offensive. 

The Defensive attitude of the Fleet was bad for its 
morale, and was no real protection from enemy subma- 


The suggestion of seizing an island off the German 
coast was adjourned. 

7th Meeting of War Council,, January 8th, 1915. 


Asked whether the bombardment of Zeebrugge would 
materially lessen the risks to transports and other ships 
in the English Channel, Lord Fisher replied that he 
thought not. In his opinion the danger involved in the 
operation (in loss of ships) would outweigh the results. 

8th Meeting of War Council, January 13th, 1915. 


Lord Fisher said that the Navy had not unlimited bat- 
tleships to lose, and there would probably be losses in any 
attack on Zeebrugge. He objected to any attack on Zee- 
brugge without the co-operation of the Army along the 

The Dardanelles was mentioned, Mr. Churchill stat- 
ing that he had exchanged telegrams with Admiral Car- 
den as to the possibilities of a naval attack on the Dar- 
danelles. He had taken this step because Lord Kitchener, 
in a letter to him, dated January 3rd, had urged instant 
naval action at the Dardanelles to relieve the pressure on 
the Grand Duke Nicholas in the Caucasus. 

9th Meeting of War Council, January 28th, 1915, 
11.30 a.m. 

(Note. Before this meeting the Prime Minister dis- 
cussed with Mr. Churchill and Lord Fisher the proposed 
Dardanelles operations and decided in favour of consid- 
ering the project in opposition to Lord Fisher's opinion.) 


Mr. Churchill asked if the War Council attached im- 
portance to the proposed Dardanelles operations, which 
undoubtedly involved risks. 


Lord Fisher said that he had understood that this 
question was not to be raised at this meeting. The Prime 
Minister knew his (Lord Fisher's) views on the subject. 

The Prime Minister said that, in view of what had al- 
ready been done, the question could not be left in abey- 

(Note. Thereupon Lord Fisher left the Council 
table. He was followed by Lord Kitchener, who asked 
him what he intended to do. Lord Fisher replied to Lord 
Kitchener that he would not return to the Council table, 
and would resign his office as First Sea Lord. Lord 
Kitchener then pointed out to Lord Fisher that he (Lord 
Fisher) was the only dissentient, and that the Dardanelles 
operations had been decided upon by the Prime Minister ; 
and he urged on Lord Fisher that his duty to his country 
was to go on carrying out the duties of First Sea Lord. 
After further talk Lord Fisher reluctantly gave in to Lord 
Kitchener and went back to the Council table. 1 ) 

Mr. Churchill stated that the ultimate object of the 
Navy was to obtain access to the Baltic. There were, he 
said, three Naval phases: 

1st phase. The clearing of the outer seas (this had 

been accomplished). 

2nd phase. The clearing of the North Sea. 
3rd phase. The clearing of the Baltic. 

Mr. Churchill laid stress on the importance of the third 
phase and said this latter operation was of great impor- 
tance, as Germany always had been, and still was, very 
nervous of an attack from the Baltic. For this purpose 
special vessels were required, and the First Sea Lord 
(Lord Fisher) had designed cruisers, &c., &c. 2 The meet- 
ing was adjourned to 6.30 the same evening. 

It must be emphasised here, as well as in regard to Lord Kitchener's 
statement to the War Council dated May Hth, 1915, that Lord Fisher con- 
sidered that it would be both improper and unseemly for him to enter into 
an altercation either at the War Council or elsewhere with his chief Mr. 
Churchill, the First Lord. Silence or resignation was the right course. 

'This was the Armada of 612 vessels authorised by Mr. Lloyd George as 
Chancellor of the Exchequer. 


10th Meeting of War Council (same day], January 28th, 
1915, at 6.30 p.m. 

The plan of a naval attack on Zeebrugge was aban- 
doned and the Dardanelles operations were decided upon. 

11th Meeting of War Council, February 9th, 1915. 

Mr. Churchill reported that the Naval attack on the 
Dardanelles would take place on February 15th. (This 
was afterwards postponed until February 19th.) 

12th Meeting of War Council, February 16th, 1915. 

Agreed that the 29th Division should be sent to the 
Dardanelles and other arrangements made to support the 
Naval attack on the Dardanelles. 

The Admiralty were authorised and pressed to build 
or obtain special craft for landing 50,000 men wherever 
a landing might be required. 

13th Meeting of War Council, February 19th, 1915. 

Transports ordered to be got ready : 

1. To convey troops from Egypt to the Dardanelles; 

2. To convey the 29th Division from England to the 

but no final decision to be taken as to 29th Division. 

14th Meeting of War Council, February 24th, 1915. 

General Birdwood selected to join Admiral Garden 
before the Dardanelles. 

The decision as to sending 29th Division postponed. 

15th Meeting of War Council, February 26th, 1915. 

Mr. Churchill said he could not offer any assurance 
of success in the Dardanelles attack. 


16th Meeting of War Council, March 3rd, 1915. 

The future of Constantinople was discussed, and what 
should be the next step after the Dardanelles. Lord 
Lansdowne and Mr. Bonar Law, besides Mr. Balfour, 
were present. 

17th Meeting of War Council, March 10th, 1915. 

The War Office was directed to prepare a memoran- 
dum on the strategical advantages of Alexandretta. 

18th Meeting of War Council, March 19th, 1915. 

The sinking of the battleships "Irresistible," "Ocean," 
and "Bouvet," the running ashore of "Gaulois" and the 
disablement of "Inflexible," were discussed 

The continuance of naval operations against Darda- 
nelles was authorised if the Admiral at the Dardanelles 

Lord Fisher said that it was impossible to explain 
away the sinking of four battleships. He had always 
said that a loss of 12 battleships must be expected before 
the Dardanelles could be forced by the Navy alone. He 
still adhered to this view. 

Note. There was no meeting of the War Council 
from March 19th to May 14th. 

19th Meeting of War Council, May Ikih, 1915. 

Mr. Churchill reported that one, or perhaps two, Ger- 
man submarines had arrived in the Eastern Mediterra- 
nean, and that the attack on the Dardanelles had now 
become primarily a military rather than a naval operation. 
It had been decided to recall the "Queen Elizabeth." Mr. 
Churchill stated that if it had been known three months 
ago that an army of from 80,000 to 100,000 men would 
now be available for the attack on the Dardanelles the 
naval attack would never have been undertaken. 

Lord Fisher reminded the War Council that he had 


been no parti/ to the Dardanelles operations. When the 
matter was first under consideration he had stated his 
opinion to the Prime Minister at a private interview. 

Conclusion. Lord Kitchener to send a telegram to 
Sir Ian Hamilton asking what military force he would 
require in order to ensure success at the Dardanelles. 

Note. On the evening of this day Mr. Churchill 
drafted orders for further naval reinforcements for the 
Dardanelles, a course to which Lord Fisher could not 

(This led to Lord Fisher leaving the Admiralty.) 
A Note on the Dardanelles Operations. 

Major-General Sir Chas. Caldwell, K.C.B., was Di- 
rector of Military Operations at the War Office during 
the whole period of the inception, incubation and execu- 
tion of the Dardanelles adventure, and in an article in 
the "Nineteenth Century" for March, 1919, he completely 
disposes of the criticisms of Mr. G. A. Schreiner in his 
book "From Berlin to Bagdad," and of those of Mr. H. 
Morgenthau, the late United States Ambassador at Con- 
stantinople, in his recent book, "The Secrets of the Bos- 
phorus." Both these works convey the impression that 
the general attack by the Fleet upon the Defences of the 
Narrows on March 18th, 1915, very nearly succeeded. 
This verdict is not justified by the facts as certified by 
Sir C. Caldwell. He proves incontestably that, even in 
the very unlikely case of indirect bombardment really ef- 
fecting its object in putting the batteries out of action, 
there would still be the movable armament of the Turks 
left to worry and defeat the mine-sweepers, and there 
would still be the drifting mines and possibly the tor- 
pedoes fired from the shore to imperil the battleships. 
When peace did come it occupied the British Admiral a 
very long time to sweep up the mines. The damaging 
effect of Naval Bombardment was over-estimated the 
extent to which the enemy's movable armament would in- 
terfere with mine-sweeping was not realised, and the ex- 


tent and efficiency of the minefields were unknown and 
unheeded. Sir Charles Caldwell says: 

"The whole thing was a mistake, quite apart from the 
disastrous influence which the premature and unsuccess- 
ful operation exerted over the subsequent land campaign." 

It is also most true what Sir C. Caldwell says that 
"the idea at the back of the sailors' minds (who so re- 
luctantly assented to the political desire of getting pos- 
session of the Straits) was that it was an experiment which 
could always be instantly stopped if the undertaking were 
to be found too difficult." But alas ! "the view of the War 
Council came to be that they could not now abandon the 

Marshal Liman von Sanders, who had charge of the 
defence of the Dardanelles, said: 

"The attack on the Straits by the Navy alone I don't 
think could ever have succeeded. I proposed to flood the 
Straits broadcast with mines, and it was my view that 
these were the main defences of the Dardanelles, and 
that the function of the guns of the forts was simply to 
protect the minefields from interference." 

The evidence given by Captain (now Rear- Admiral 
Sir William Reginald Hall, R.N., Director of Naval 
Intelligence, at the Dardanelles Inquiry, conflicts with 
the facts as afterwards made known to us; and no doubt 
this led to such official speeches as were made of our being 
so near victory at the Dardanelles speeches which caused 
the further great sacrifice of life which took place after 
General Sir Charles Munro, the present Commander-in- 
Chief in India, had definitely and without any equivoca- 
tion officially reported that the Evacuation of the Galli- 
poli Peninsula should immediately take place. 

Field Marshal Lord Nicholson asked Captain Hall, 
R.N., how far the Gallipoli Peninsula was under German 
control; and his answer was that it was known that the 
defences had been inspected by a German and that many 
Germans were arriving there, whereas it is a matter of 


fact stated by General Liman von Sanders and confirmed 
from other sources that the Germans were in complete 
control ; and it took the British Admiral many weeks after 
the Armistice, helped by the Turks, to clear a way 
through the mines for his Flagship to take him to Con- 
stantinople. At question 4930 Captain Hall stated his 
spies made him convinced that he could have pushed 
through with only the loss of one or more ships and got 
to Constantinople on March 18th. 


A friend asking me yesterday (this was written in 
1917) about the replacement of Tonnage destroyed by 
the German Submarines, and telling me how quite in- 
effectual had been the course pursued up to the present 
when really we are in measurable distance of starvation 
or else an ignoble peace, I ventured to send him the en- 
closed account (written at the time) of how 612 Vessels 
were hustled! As in all other War matters, it is Person- 
ality that is required, even more than Brains ! 


Note. The following Memoranda are inserted as 
vital to the explanation of Lord Fisher's reluctance to 
resign on the Dardanelles question. It will be seen that 
Mr. Churchill had given him sole charge of the creation 
of this armada of new ships, intended for great projects 
in the Baltic and North Sea. 

Tuesday, November 3rd, 1914. 

(Note. Lord Fisher had joined the Admiralty as 
First Sea Lord four days before this meeting.) 

The First Sea Lord (Lord Fisher) presided at a Con- 
ference this day at the Admiralty. 


Second Sea Lord. 
Third Sea Lord. 


Additional Civil Lord. 
Parliamentary and Financial Secretary. 

Naval Secretary to First Lord. 

Assistant Director of Torpedoes and another repre- 
sentative of the Director of Naval Ordnance. 
Commodore (S) and Assistant. 
Naval Assistant to First Sea Lord. 
Director of Naval Construction and an Assistant. 
Superintendent of Contract Work. 
Superintending Electrical Engineer. 
Director of Dockyard Work. 
Director of Naval Contracts and an Assistant. 

Lord Fisher explained to those present that this Con- 
ference had been summoned with the approval of Mr. 
Churchill, primarily with the object of expediting the de- 
livery of 20 submarines which were to be at once com- 

but in the second place a big further building programme 
for a special purpose had been decided on. 

The question of placing orders for submarines had been 
under consideration for some time past. The First Lord, 
however, had assented to the cancellation of all existing 
papers on this subject, and a fresh start was to be made 
immediately on the lines of a special war routine. All red- 
tape methods very proper in time of peace were now 
to be aabndoned, and everything must be entirely sub- 
ordinated to rapidity of construction. It was desired to 
impress upon all present the necessity of avoiding "paper" 
work, and of proceeding in the manner indicated in the 
secret memorandum which would be circulated next day 
in regard to the matter. Arrangements would be made 
in due course to obtain additional vessels of other types 
in a similar manner. 

Note. After this, a meeting of all the shipbuilding 
firms of the United Kingdom took place at the Admiralty 

Portrait by J. C. Beresford 


Admiral of the Fleet. 


under the presidency of Lord Fisher, and the programme 
mentioned above in italics was parcelled out there and 


Meeting on November 3rd, 1914, four days after Lord 
Fisher became First Sea Lord. 

5 Battle Cruisers of 33 knots speed of light draught. 

2 Light Cruisers. 

5 Flotilla Leaders. 
56 Destroyers. 
64 Submarines. 
37 Monitors. 

24 River Light Gunboats. 
19 Whaling Steamers. 
24 Submarine Destroyers. 
50 Seagoing Patrol Boats. 
200 Motor Barges, oil engines. 
90 Smaller Barges. 
36 Sloops. 

612 Total. 




There is no doubt that at this moment the supply of 
additional submarine boats in the shortest time possible 
is a matter of urgent national importance. They will not 
be obtained unless the whole engineering and shipbuild- 
ing resources of the country are enlisted in the effort, and 
the whole of the peace paraphernalia of red-tape routine 
and consequent delay are brushed on one side. I have 
carefully studied the submarine question during my retire- 
ment and have had many opportunities of keeping in 
touch with the present position and future possibilities, 
and am convinced that 20 submarines can be commenced 


at once, and that the first batch of these should be de- 
livered in nine months, and the remainder at short inter- 
vals, completing the lot in 11 or 12 months. 

NOTE. A dozen more were actually delivered in five 
months, and made the voyage alone from America to the 

To do this, however, cheapness must be entirely sub- 
ordinated to rapidity of construction, and the technical 
departments must have a free hand to take whatever steps 
are necessary to secure this end without any paper work 
whatever. Apparently this matter has been under con- 
sideration at the Admiralty already for a considerable 
time, but 

nothing has yet been ordered, 

and the First Lord has concurred that a fresh start be 
made independently of former papers, 

and the matter placed under my sole supervision, without 
any other officers or departments intervening between me 
and the professional officers. 

I will give instructions as to the work, and direct that 

if any difficulties are met with, they be brought to me 
instantly to be overcome. 

The professional officers' reports as to acceptances of 
tenders or allocation of work must be immediately car- 
ried out by the branches. 

Only in this way can we get the boats we require. To 
ensure the completion of the 20 boats, steps to be imme- 
diately taken to order the parts for the engines for 25 
boats. We know from experience that it is in the ma- 
chinery parts that defects and failures occur in manufac- 
ture of castings, forgings, etc., causing great delay. The 
parts for the extra five sets of engines will be available 
for these replacements, and eventually the five extra sets 
can be fitted in five further hulls. I propose to review 
the progress being made once a fortnight in the hope that 


it may be feasible to order still further submarines beyond 
these 20 now to be commenced at once. 

The training of sufficient officers and men for manning 
these extra boats must obviously be proceeded with forth-, 
with, and those responsible must see to it that the officers 
and crews are ready. 

November 3rd,, 1914. 

NOTE by Lord Fisher. I gave personal orders on 
this day to the Director of Mobilisation to enter officers, 
men, and boys to the utmost limit regardless of present 
or supposed prospective wants, so when he left the Ad- 
miralty last week to be Captain of the Renown he wrote 
me we wanted for nothing in the way of personnel! 

August I5th, 1916. 



Be to my virtues very kind, 
Be to my faults a little blind. 

Two great Personalities came across my path when 
I commanded the Mediterranean Fleet for three years 
the Sultan Abdul Hamid and Pope Leo XIII. They 
each greatly admired the astuteness of the other. Wily 
as Abdul was, the Pope was the subtler of the two. I 
did not have the interviews with the Pope which I might 
have had. There was no real occasion for it, as was the 
case with Abdul Hamid ; and also, though by the accident 
of birth I was of the Church of England (nearly every- 
body's religion is the accident of his birth), yet by taste 
and conviction I was a Covenanter, and therefore dead 
against the Pope. I would have loved to participate in 
the fight against Claverhouse at the battle of Drumclog. 

I happen to be looking at the battlefield of Drumclog 
now, and I hope to be buried in Drumclog Church that 
is, if I die here ; or in the nearest Church to my death bed. 
I am particular to say this, as it avoids so much trouble; 
and I don't have any more feeling for a cast-off body than 
for a cast-off suit of clothes. The body, after he's left it 
at death, is not the man himself, any more than his cast- 
off clothes. The only thing I ask for is a white marble 
tablet made by Mr. Bridgman of Lichfield (if he's still 
alive), with the inscription on it to be found in Croxall 
Church as written of herself by my sainted Godmother, 



of whom Byron wrote so beautifully: "She walks in beauty 
like the night." She deserved his poem. 

That was a big digression ; but being dictated, as it is, 
this is a conversation book and not a classic. Classics are 
dry. Conversation, taking no account of grammar or 
sequence, is more interesting. However, that's a matter 
of opinion. To talk is easy, but to write is terrific. Even 
Job thought so, that patient man. 

To resume Abdul Hamid and the Pope. 

Neither rats nor Jews can exist at Malta. The Mal- 
tese are too much for either. A Maltese can't get a living 
in the Levant. The Levantine is too much for the Mal- 
tese. No Levantine has ever been seen in Armenia. His 
late Majesty, Abdul Hamid, was an Armenian. He mas- 
sacred more Armenians than had ever been massacred be- 
fore. I've no doubt that can be explained. It is sup- 
posed that the Armenian coachman of the previous Sultan 
was his father. He certainly was not a bit like his pre- 
sumed father, the Sultan. When I dined several times 
with the Sultan, his father's picture hung behind him and 
he used to ask people if they traced the likeness there 
wasn't even a resemblance. 

The Sultan paid me a very special honour in sending 
his most distinguished Admiral with his Staff down to 
the British Fleet lying at Lemnos, to escort me up to 
Constantinople. This Admiral was known to me; and it 
afforded me an opportunity, in the passage up the Dar- 
danelles, of making a thorough inspection of the Forts 
and all the particulars connected with the defence of the 
Dardanelles. Nothing was kept back from me; and in- 
cidentally it was through this inspection I became on such 
terms with the Pashas that a most amicable arrangement 
was reached between us as to our ever having to work 
in common. !A yerg striking incident occurred illustrat- 


ing Kiamil Pasha's remark to me of how every Turk in 
the Turkish Empire trusted the English when they trusted 
no one else. Kiamil's argument was that such trust was 
only natural after the Crimean War, and after the war 
with Russia when Russia was at the gates of Constanti- 
nople, and the British Fleet, coming up under Admiral 
Hornby in a blinding snowstorm, encountering great risks 
and not knowing but what the Forts, bribed by Russia, 
might open fire that British Fleet, by its opportune ar- 
rival, hardly a minute too soon, effectually banged, barred 
and bolted the gates of Constantinople against the Rus- 
sians and produced peace. And Kiamil's emphasis was 
that, notwithstanding all these wonderful things that Eng- 
land had done for Turkey, England never asked for the 
very smallest favour or concession in return, whereas other 
nations were all of them notoriously always grabbing; 
and I told Kiamil Pasha that I felt very proud indeed, 
as a British Admiral, that England had this noble char- 
acter and deserved it. The incident I referred to was this : 
Upon an observation being made to the Turkish Com- 
mander-in- Chief in the Dardanelles as to whether some 
written document wouldn't be satisfactory to him, he re- 
plied he wanted no such document if a British Midship- 
man brought him a message, the word of a British Mid- 
shipman was enough for him. 

The views I formed at that period of the impregna- 
bility of the Dardanelles stood me in good stead when the 
Dogger Bank incident became known on Trafalgar Day, 
1904 the very day I assumed the position of First Sea 
Lord of the Admiralty. We were within an ace of war 
with Russia; the Prime Minister's speech at Southamp- 
ton, if consulted, will show that to be the case; and I then 
drew up a secret memorandum with respect to the Dar- 
danelles, which I alluded to at the War Council when the 


attack on the Dardanelles was being discussed, also in 
my official memorandum to Lord Cromer, the Chairman 
of the Dardanelles Commission, and in my evidence be- 
fore the Commission. 

Personally I had a great regard for Abdul Hamid. 
Our Ambassadors had not. One who knew of these mat- 
ters considered Abdul Hamid the greatest diplomat in 
Europe. I have mentioned elsewhere how greatly he re- 
sented Lord Salisbury throwing over the traditional Eng- 
lish AJliance with Turkey and Lord Salisbury saying in a 
memorable speech that in making that alliance in past 
years we had backed the wrong horse. For were not (was 
Abdul Hamid's argument) England and Turkey the two 
greatest Mahomedan nations on Earth England being 
somewhat the greater? Kiamil the Grand Old Man of 
Turkey told me the same. He had been many times 
Grand Vizier, and I went especially with the Mediter- 
ranean Fleet to Smyrna to do him honour. He was the 
Vali there. His nickname in Turkey was "The English- 
man"; he was so devoted to us. He lamented to me that 
England had had only one diplomatist of ability at Con- 
stantinople since the days of Sir Stratford Canning, whom 
he knew. His exception was a Sir William White, who 
had been a Consul somewhere in the Balkan States. No 
other English Ambassador had ever been able to cope with 
the Germans. I remonstrated with Kiamil by saying that 
Ambassadors now were only telegraph instruments they 
only conveyed messages, and quite probably from some 
quite young man at the Foreign Office who had charge 
of that Department. I venture to remark here in pass- 
ing what I have very frequently urged to those in au- 
thority that the United States system is infinitely better 
than ours. Their diplomatic representatives are all fresh 
from home, with each change of President; ours live all 


their lives abroad and practically cease to be English- 
men, and very often, like Solomon, marry foreign wives. 
Another thing I've urged on Authority is that some Great 
Personage should annually make a tour of inspection of 
all the Diplomatic and Consular Agents (exactly as the 
big Banks have a travelling Inspector), who would ask 
how much he had increased the trade of the great British 
Commonwealth of Nations; and if it weren't more than 
five per cent, would give him the sack. This Great Trav- 
elling Personage must be a man independent in means 
and station of any Government connexion and undertake 
the duty as Sir Edward (now Lord) Grey goes to Wash- 
ington. The German Ambassador at Constantinople used 
to go round selling beetroot sugar by the pound! The 
English Ambassador said to me at a Garden Party he 
gave by those lovely sweet waters of the Bosphorus: "You 
see that fellow there with a white hat on? He's the Presi- 
dent of the British Chamber of Commerce; he's an awful 
nuisance. He's always bothering me about some peddling 
commercial business!'* 

Abdul Hamid was exceeding kind to me and invited 
me to Constantinople, and he descanted (the Boer War 
then being on) what a risk there was of a big coalition 
against England. Curiously enough, his colleague the 
Pope had the same feeling. It is very deplorable, not 
only in the late War but also in the Boer War especially, 
how utterly our spies and our Intelligence Departments 
failed us. I was so impressed with what the Sultan told 
me that I set to work on my own account; and through 
the patriotism of several magnificent Englishmen who oc- 
cupied high commercial positions on the shores of the 
Mediterranean, I got a central forwarding station for in- 
formation fixed up privately in Switzerland; and it so 
happened, through a most Providential state of circum- 


stances, that I was thus able to obtain all the cypher mes- 
sages passing from the various Foreign Embassies, Con- 
sulates and Legations through a certain central focus, and 
I also obtained a key to their respective cyphers. The 
Chief man who did it for me was not in Government em- 
ploy; and I'm glad to think that he is now in a great 
position though not rewarded as he should have been. 
No one is. But as to any information from an official 
source reaching me, who was so vastly interested in the 
matter, in the event of war where the Fleet should strike 
first all our Diplomats and Consuls and Intelligence 
Departments might have been dead and buried. And 
how striking the case in the late War the Prime Min- 
ister not knowing at the Guildhall Banquet on November 
9th, 1918, that the most humiliating armistice ever known 
would be accepted by the Germans within thirty-six hours, 
and one of our principal Cabinet Ministers saying the 
Sunday before that the Allies were at their last gasp. 
And read now Ludendorff, Tirpitz, Falkenhayn, Liman 
von Sanders, and others they knew exactly what the 
Allies' condition was and what their own was. And if 
the Dardanelles evidence is ever published, it will be found 
absolutely ludicrous how the official spokesmen gravely 
give evidence that the Turks had come to their last round 
of ammunition and that the roofs of the houses in Con- 
stantinople were crowded with people looking for the ad- 
vent of the approaching British Fleet. Why! it took our 
Admiral, on the conclusion of the Armistice, with the help 
of the Turks and all his own Fleet, several weeks to clear 
a passage through the mines, on which Marshal Liman 
von Sanders so accurately based his reliance against any 
likelihood of the Dardanelles being forced. 



"Not the wise find salvation." St. Paul. 

ONE of the charms of the Christian religion is that the 
Foolish confound the Wise. The Atheists are all brainy 
men. Myself, I hate a brainy man. All the brainy men 
said it was impossible to have aeroplanes. No brainy man 
ever sees that speed is armour. Directly the brainy men 
got a chance they clapped masses of armour on the "Hush- 
Hush" ships. They couldn't understand speed being ar- 
mour, and said to themselves: "Didn't she draw so little 
water she could stand having weight put on her? Shove 
on armour !" and so bang went the speed, and the "Hush- 
Hush" ships, whose fabulous beauty was their forty shore- 
going miles an hour, were slowed down by these brainy 
men. Don't jockeys have to carry weights? Isn't it called 
handicapping? Isn't it the object to beat the favourite 
the real winner? There really is comfort in the 27th verse 
of the 1st chapter of 1 Corinthians, where the Foolish are 
wiser than the Wise. 

What! A battle cruiser called the "Furious" going 
40 shore-going miles an hour with 18-inch guns reaching 
26 miles! "Take the damn guns out and make it into an 
aeroplane ship!" (And I'm not sure they could ever get 
the aeroplanes to land on her, owing to the heat of the 

1 06 


funnels causing what they call "Air pockets" above the 
stern of the ship.) 

Yes I and we still have ancient Admirals who believe 
in bows and arrows. There's a good deal to be said for 
bows and arrows. Our ancestors insisted on all church- 
yards being planted with yew trees to make bows. There 
you are! It's a home product! Not like those damn fools 
who get their oil from abroad! And I have now the Mem- 
orandum with me delivered to me when I was Controller 
of the Navy by a member of the Board of Admiralty de- 
siring to build 16 sailing ships! Again, didn't the Board 
of Admiralty issue a solemn Board Minute that wood 
floated and iron sank? So what a damnable thing to 
build iron ships! Wasn't there another solemn Board 
Minute that steam was damnable and fatal to the su- 
premacy of the British Navy? Haven't we had Admirals 
writing very brainy articles in magazines to prove that 
there was nothing like a tortoise? You could stand on the 
tortoise's back ; you weren't rushed by the tortoise, whereas 
these "Hush-Hush" ships, they were flimsy, and speed 
was worshipped as a god. One mighty man of valour 
(only "he was a leper" as regards sea fighting) told me 
at his luncheon table that when one of these "Hush-Hush" 
ships encountered at her full strength of nearly a hun- 
dred thousand horse power a gale of wind in a moun- 
tainous sea she was actually strained! It's all really too 
lovely; but of course the humour of it can't be properly 
appreciated by the ordinary shore-going person. Yes, the 
brainy men, as I said before, crabbed the "Hush-Hush" 
ships; they couldn't understand that speed was armour 
when associated with big guns because the speed enabled 
you to put your ship at such a distance that she couldn't 
be hit by the enemy, so it was the equivalent of impene- 
trable armour although you had none of it, and you hit 


the enemy every round for the simple reason that your 
guns reached him when his could not reach you. Q.E.D. 
as Euclid says. What these splendid armour bearers say 
is "Give me a strong ship which no silly ass of a Captain 
can hurt." Of course this implies that if it's Buggins's 
turn to be Captain of a ship he gets it; it's his turn, even 
if he is a silly ass. The phase of mind they have is this : 
"None of your highly strung racehorses for me, give me 
a good old cart-horse I" So we build huge costly warships 
which will last a hundred years, but become obsolete in 

It all really is very funny if it wasn't disastrous and 
ruinous! And they are such a motley crew, these discon- 
tented ones who come together in John Bright's cave of 
Adullam; and the Poor Dear Public read an interview 
in a newspaper with some Commander Knowall ; and then 
a magazine article by Admiral Retrograde ; and some old 
"cup of tea" writes to The Times (wonderful paper The 
Times "Equal Opportunity for All" ) and there you are ! 
Lord Fisher is a damned fool; and if he isn't a damned 
fool, he's a maniac. Oh! very well then, if he isn't a ma- 
niac, then he's a traitor. Wasn't Sir Julian Corbett very 
seriously asked if he (Sir John Fisher) hadn't sold his 
country to Germany? Sir Julian thought the report was 
exaggerated, and that satisfied the Searcher after Truth. 
But I ask my listeners, however should we get on without 
these people? How dull life would be without their dia- 
lectical subtleties and "reasoned statements" (I think they 
call them) and "considered judgments"! 

My splendid dear old friend, who could hardly write 
his name, the Chief Engineer of the first ironclad, the 
"Warrior," told me, when I was Gunnery Lieutenant of 
her in 1861, that he had arranged for his monument at 
death being of "malleable" iron. No cast iron for him, he 


said! It played you such pranks. So it is with these car- 
bonised cranks who wield the pen, actuated by the wrong 
kind of grey matter of their brain, and, their tongues 
acidulated with lies, sway listening Senates and control 
our wars. It requires a Mr. Disraeli to deal with these 
victims of their own verbosity, who are the facile dupes of 
their vacuous imaginations and the servile copyists of the 
Billingsgatean line of argument! 



"A wise old owl lived in an oak; 
The more he heard, the less he spoke; 
The less he spoke, the more he heard; 
Why can't we be like that wise old bird?" 

LORD HALDANE with his "art of clear thinking" elab- 
orated the Imperial War Staff to its present magnificent 
dimensions. If any man wants a thing advertised, let 
him take it over there to the Secret Department. Only 
Sir Arthur Wilson and myself, when I was First Sea 
Lord of the Admiralty, knew the Naval plan of war. He 
was the man, so head-and-shoulders above all his fellows, 
who in his time was our undoubted, indeed our incom- 
parable, Sea Leader. No one touched him ; and I am not 
sure that even now, though getting on for Dandolo's age, 
he would not still achieve old Dandolo's great deeds. 
What splendid lines they are from Byron: 

"Oh for one hour of blind old Dandolo, 
Th' Octogenarian Chief, Byzantium's Conquering Foe!" 

I loved Sir Arthur Wilson's reported reply to the maniacs 
who think the Navy is the same as the Army. If it is 
not true it is ben trovato. He said the Naval War Staff 
at the Admiralty consisted of himself assisted by every 
soul inside the Admiralty, and he added, "including the 
charwomen" they emptied the waste-paper baskets full 



of the plans of the amateur strategists Cabinet and 

No such rubbish has ever been talked as about the 
Navy War Staff and also, in connexion therewith, the 
Admiralty clerks who are supposed to have wrecked its 
first inception in the period long ago when my great 
friend the late Admiral W. H. Hall was introduced into 
the Admiralty to form a Department of Naval Intelli- 
gence. I give my experience. I have been fifteen or 
more years in the Admiralty Director of Ordnance and 
Torpedoes, Controller of the Navy, Second Sea Lord and 
First Sea Lord. Inside the Admiralty, for conducting 
administrative work, the Civil Service clerk is incompar- 
ably superior to the Naval Officer. The Naval Officer 
makes a very bad clerk. He hasn't been brought up to it. 
He can't write a letter, and, as you can see from my dic- 
tation, he is both verbose and diffuse. The Clerk is terse 
and incisive. 

I'll go to instances. My Secretary, W. F. Nicholson, 
C.B., was really just as capable of being First Sea Lord 
as I was, when associated with my Naval Assistant. I 
often used to say that the First Sea Lord was in commis- 
sion, and that I was the facile dupe of these two; and I 
was blessed with a succession of Naval Assistants who 
knew so exactly their limitations as regards Admiralty 
work as allowed the Admiralty machine to be, as was 
officially stated, the best, most efficient, and most effective 
of all the Government Departments of the State. I have 
a note of this, made by the highest authority in the Civil 
Service. I would like here to name my Naval Assistants, 
because they were out and away without precedent the 
most able men in the Navy: Admirals Sir Reginald Ba- 
con, Sir Charles Madden, Sir Henry Oliver, Sir Horace 
Hood, Sir Charles de Bartolome, Captain Richmond and 


Captain Crease I'll back that set of names against the 

I was the originator of the Naval War College at 
Portsmouth that's quite a different thing from an Im- 
perial General Staff at the War Office. The vulgar error 
of Lord Haldane and others, who are always talking about 
"Clear thinking" and such-like twaddle, is that they do 
not realise that the Army is so absolutely different from 
the Navy. Every condition in them both is different. 
The Navy is always at war, because it is always fighting 
winds and waves and fog. The Navy is ready for an ab- 
solute instant blow; it has nothing to do with strategic 
railways, lines of communication, or bridging rivers, or 
crossing mountains, or the time of the year, when the 
Balkans may be snowed under, and mountain passes may 
be impassable. No! the ocean is limitless and unob- 
structed; and the fleet, each ship manned, gunned, pro- 
visioned and fuelled, ready to fight within five minutes. 
The Army not only has to mobilise, but thank God ! this 
being an island it has to be carried somewhere by the 
Navy, no matter where it acts. I observe here that when 
Lord Kitchener went to Australia to inaugurate the 
scheme of Defence, he forgot Australia was an island. 
What Australia wants to make it impregnable is not Con- 
scription it's Submarines. However, I fancy Kitchener 
was sent there to get him out of the way. They wanted 
me to go to Australia, but I didn't. 1 Jellicoe has gone 
there. But then, Jellicoe hasn't always sufficient fore- 
sight; exempli gratia, he was persuaded to take the de- 
plorable step of giving up command of the Grand Fleet 
and going as First Sea Lord of the Admiralty. Never 
was anything so regrettable. I told the War Council that 

1 At my entreaty a far better man went, Admiral Sir Reginald Henderson, 
G.C.B. He is a splendid seaman and he devised a splendid scheme. 


I am very glad Nelson never went to the Admiralty, and 
that Nelson would have made an awful hash of it. Nel- 
son was a fighter, not an administrator and a snake 
charmer that's what a First Sea Lord has to be. 

Gross von Schwartzhoff told me on the sands of 
Scheveningen : 

"Your Navy can strike in thirteen hours; 
Our Army can't under thirteen days." 

Frau von Pohl tells us the Germans did expect us so to 
strike, but Nelson was in heaven (Dear Reader, look again 
at what Frau von Pohl said, you'll find it in Chapter III.) . 
On one occasion I got into a most unpleasant atmosphere. 
I arrived at a country house late at night, and at break- 
fast in the morning, I not knowing who the guests were, 
a Cabinet Minister enunciated the proposition that sea 
and land war were both in principle and practice alike. 
At once getting up from the breakfast table, in the heat 
of the moment, and not knowing that distinguished mili- 
tary officers were there, I said, "Any silly ass could be a 
General." I graphically illustrated my meaning. I gave 
the contrast between a sea and a land battle. The Gen- 
eral is somewhere behind the fighting line, or he ought to 
be. The Admiral has got to be in the fighting line, or he 
ought to be. The Admiral is indeed like the young Sub- 
altern, he is often the first "Over the top." The Gen- 
eral, at a telescopic distance from the battle scene and 
surrounded by his Kitcheners, and his Ludendorffs, and 
his Gross von Schwartzhoffs, has plenty of time for the 
"Clear thinking" a la Lord Haldane; and then, acting on 
the advice of those surrounding him, he takes his meas- 
ures. So far as I can make out from the Ludendorff ex- 
tracts in The Times, Hindenburg, the Generalissimo, was 


clearly not in it. He was "the silly ass" ! Ludendorff did 
it all as Chief of the Staff. 

Now what's the corresponding case at sea? The smoke 
of the enemy, not even the tops of his funnels, can be seen 
on the horizon. (I proved this myself with the great 
Mediterranean fleet divided into two portions.) Within 
twenty minutes the action is decided! Realise this it 
takes some minutes for the Admiral to get his breeches 
on, to get on deck and take in the situation; and it takes 
a good many more minutes to deploy the Fleet from its 
Cruising Disposition into its Fighting Disposition. In 
the Cruising Disposition his guns are masked, one ship 
interfering with the fire of another. The Fleet for Battle 
has to be so disposed that all the guns, or as many as pos- 
sible, can concentrate on one or a portion of the enemy's 
fleet. Each fleet pushes on at its utmost speed to meet 
the other, hoping to catch the other undeployed. Every 
telescope in the fleet (and there are myriads) is looking 
at the Admiral as he goes to the topmost and best van- 
tage spot on board his flag ship to see the enemy, and sees 
him alone outlined against the sky neither time nor room 
for a staff around him, and if there were they'd say, "It's 
not the Admiral who is doing it," and be demoralised ac- 
cordingly fatal to victory. In the fleet the Admiral's 
got to be like Nelson "the personal touch" so that "any 
silly ass can't be an Admiral"; and the people of the Fleet 
watch him with unutterable suspense to see what signal 
goes up to alter the formation of the fleet a formation 
on which depends Victory or Defeat. So it was that Togo 
won that second Trafalgar; he did what is technically 
known as "crossing the T," which means he got the guns 
of his fleet all to bear, all free to fire, while those of the 
enemy were masked by his own ships. One by one 
Rozhdestvensky's ships went to the bottom, under the 


concerted action of concentrated fire. What does it? 
Speed. And what actuates it? One mind, and one mind 
only. .Goschen was right (when First Lord of the Ad- 
miralty) ; he quoted that old Athenian Admiral who, when 
asked what governed a sea battle, replied, "Providence," 
and then with emphasis he added: "and a good Admiral" 
Which reminds me too of Cromwell a pious man, we 
all know; when asked a somewhat similar question as to 
what ruled the world, he replied, "The Fear of the Lord," 
and he added with an emphasis equal to that of the Athe- 
nian Admiral "And a broomstick." No one votes more 
for the Sermon on the Mount than I do; but I say to a 
blithering fool "Begone!" 

A Naval War Staff at the Admiralty is a very excel- 
lent organisation for cutting out and arranging foreign 
newspaper clippings in such an intelligent disposition as 
will enable the First Sea Lord to take in at a glance who 
is likely amongst the foreigners to be the biggest fool or 
the greatest poltroon, who will be opposed to his own 
trusted and personally selected Nelson who commands the 
British Fleet. The First Sea Lord and the Chief Ad- 
miral afloat have got to be Siamese twins. And when the 
war comes, the Naval War Staff at the Admiralty, listen- 
ing every moment to the enemy's wireless messages (if he 
dare use it), enables the First Sea Lord to let his twin at 
sea know exactly what is going on. He takes in the wire- 
less, and not necessarily the Admiral afloat, on account 
of the far greater power of reception in a land installa- 
tion as compared with that on a ship. When you see that 
spider's web of lines of wire on the top of the Admiralty, 
then thank God this is more or less a free country, as it 
got put up by a cloud of bluejackets before a rat was 
smelt! An intercepted German Naval letter at the time 
gave me personally great delight, for it truly divined that 


wireless was the weapon of the strong Navy. For the 
development of the wireless has been such that now you 
can get the direction of one who speaks and go for him; 
so the German daren't open his mouth. But if he does, 
of course the message is in cypher ; and it's the elucidation 
of that cypher which is one of the crowning glories of the 
Admiralty work in the late war. In my time they never 
failed once in that elucidation. Yes, wireless is the weapon 
of the strong. So also is the Submarine that is if they 
are sufficiently developed and diversified and properly ap- 
plied, but you must have quantities and multiplicity of 

What you want to do is to fight the enemy's fleet, 
make him come out from under the shelter of his forts, 
where his ships are hiding like rabbits in a hole put in 
the ferrets and out come the rabbits, or they kill 'em where 
they are. Nelson blockading Toulon, as he told the Lord 
Mayor of London in one of his most characteristic letters, 
didn't want to keep the French fleet in; he wanted them 
to come out and fight. But he kept close in for fear they 
should evade him in darkness or in fog. 

But the mischief of a Naval War Staff is peculiar to 
the Navy. I understand it is quite different in the Army 
I don't know. The mischief to the Navy is that the 
very ablest of our Officers, both young and old, get at- 
tracted by the brainy work and by the shore-going ap- 
pointment. I asked a splendid specimen once whatever 
made him go in for being a Marine Officer. He said he 
wanted to be with his wife! Well, it's natural. I know 
a case of a Sea Officer whose long absence caused his chil- 
dren not to recognise him when he came home from China 
and, indeed, they were frightened of him. The land is a 
shocking bad training ground for the sea. I once heard 
one bluejacket say to another the reason he believed in the 


Bible was that in heaven there is "no more sea." I didn't 
realise it at the time, but I looked up "Revelations" and 
found it was so. A shallower spirit observed: "Britannia 
rules the waves, but the mistake was she didn't rule them 
straight." A very distinguished soldier who came to see 
me when I was Port Admiral at Portsmouth said that the 
Army, as compared with the Navy, was at a great disad- 
vantage. In the Army, or even in the country, he said, 
anyone who had handled a rifle laid down the law as if 
he were a General; but the Navy, he said, was "A huge 
mystery hedged in by seasickness." 

So far as the Navy is concerned, the tendency of these 
"Thinking Establishments" on shore is to convert splen- 
did Sea Officers into very indifferent Clerks. The Ad- 
miralty is filled with Sea Officers now who ought to be 
afloat; and the splendid civilian element incomparable 
in its talent and in its efficiency is swamped. Before the 
war, when I was First Sea Lord, when I left the Ad- 
miralty at 8 p.m., prior to some approaching Grand 
Manoeuvres, I left it to my friend Flint, one of the Higher 
Division Clerks, to mobilise the fleet by a wireless mes- 
sage from the roof of the Admiralty; and the deciding 
circumstances having arisen, he did it off his own bat at 
2 a.m. A weaker vessel, knowing of the telephone at my 
bedside, might have rung me up ; but Flint didn't. Good 
old Flint! Always one of the Clerks was on watch, all 
the year round, night and day; and that obtained in the 
Admiralty long before any other Department adopted it. 

Now for such work as I have described you don't want 
sea art ; you want the Craven scholar, and I had him. A 
Sea Officer can never be an efficient clerk his life unfits 
him. He can't be an orator; he's always had to hold his 
tongue. He can't argue; he's never been allowed. Only 
a few great spirits like Nelson are gifted with the splendid 


idiosyncrasy of insubordination; but it's given to a few 
great souls. I assure you that long study has convinced 
me that Nelson was nothing if not insubordinate. This is 
hardly the place to describe his magnificent lapses from 
discipline, which ever led to Victory. It's only due on 
my part, who have had more experience than anyone living 
of the civilian clerks at the Admiralty, to vouch for the 
fact that Sir Evan Macgregor, the ablest Secretary of 
the Admiralty since Samuel Pepys, Sir Graham Greene, 
Sir Oswyn Murray, Sir Charles Walker and my friends 
V. W. Baddeley, C.B., and J. W. S. Anderson, C.B., 
W. G. Perrin, J. F. Phillips, and many others have done 
work which has never been exceeded as regards its incom- 
parable efficiency. I can't recall a single lapse. 

The outcome of this expanded Naval War Staff be- 
yond its real requirements, such as I have indicated, and 
which were provided for while I was First Sea Lord, was 
that a Chief of the Staff, in imitation of him at the War 
Office, was planked into the Admiralty and indirectly sup- 
planted the First Sea Lord. I won't enlarge on this fur- 
ther. It's many years before another war can possibly 
take place, and it's now a waste of educated labour to 
discuss it further. All I would ask is for anyone to take 
up the last issue of the Navy List and see the endless 
pages of Naval Officers at the Admiralty or holding shore 
appointments. There has never been anything approach- 
ing these numbers in all our Sea History! It is deplor- 

The Naval War College, which I established at Ports- 
mouth, is absolutely a different affair. There it can be 
arranged that all the Officers go to sea daily and work as 
if with the fleet, with flotillas of Destroyers that are there 
available in quantities. These Destroyers would repre- 


sent all the items of the fleet; and the formations of war 
and the meetings of hostile fleets could be practised and 
so constitute the Naval War College a real gem in war 


"Friends, Romans, Countrymen, lend me your ears!" 

WE have arranged that in this book you (to whom I 
am dictating) are to insert a rechauffe of my fugitive 
writings and certain extracts from the three bulky vol- 
umes of my letters to Lord Esher, which he has so very 
kindly sent me. 

All, then, that I have to say in this chapter will be a 
summing up of all that is in my opinion worth saying, 
and you are going to be responsible for the rest. My 
judgment is that the British Public will be sick of it all 
long before you come to the end of your part. One can 
have too much jam. Nor do you seem inclined to put in 
all the "bites." For instance, it was told King Edward, 
who warned me of what was being said, that my moral 
character was shocking. No woman will ever appear 
against me at the Day of Judgment. One dear friend of 
mine attributed all his life's disasters to kissing the wrong 
girl. I never even did that. However, there is no credit 
in my morality and early piety. For I ever had to work 
from 12 years old for my daily bread, and work hard, so 
the Devil never had a "look in." I love Dr. Watts, he 
is so practical. 

"And Satan finds some mischief still 
For idle hands to do." 



Bishop Jeremy Taylor, who wrote that Classic, "Holy 
Living and Dying," who had a nagging wife who made 
him flee from home and youthful lusts, said "That no idle 
rich healthy man could possibly go to Heaven." No doubt, 
it is difficult for such a one. You will remember the 
Saviour told us that the Camel getting through the eye 
of a needle is more likely. Usually, earthly judgments on 
heavenly subjects are wrong. Observe Mary Magdalene, 
and the most beautiful Collect for her Saint's Day which 
was in our First Prayer Book of 1540. This was later 
expunged by the sacerdotal, pharisaic, self-righteous man- 
darins of that period. The judgments of this world are 
worse than the judgments of God. When David was 
offered three forms of punishment Famine or the Sword 
or Pestilence he chose the pestilence, saying, "Let us 
now fall into the hands of the Lord; for his mercies are 
great; and let me not fall into the hand of man." At the 
moment of making this note of which I am speaking I am 
looking at two very beautiful old engravings I rescued 
from the room here allotted to the Presbyterian Minister! 
One of them is the "Woman Taken in Adultery" and the 
other is "Potiphar's Wife"! My host tells me it was a 
pure accident that these pictures came to be in the Min- 
ister's room; but such events happen to Saints. Wasn't 
there "The Scarlet Letter" that wonderful book by 
Hawthorne ? 

I observe in passing how wonderfully well these Pres- 
byterians do preach. Our hosts have a beautiful Chapel 
in the house, and they have got a delightful custom of 
selecting one from the Divines of Scotland to spend the 
week-end here. Their sermons so exemplify what I keep 
on impressing on you that the printed word is a lifeless 
corpse. Can you compare the man who reads a sermon 
to the man who listens to one saturated with holiness and 


enthusiasm speaking out of the abundance of the heart? 
No doubt there is tautology, but there's conviction. Two 
qualities rule the world emotion and earnestness. I have 
said elsewhere, with them you can move far more than 
mountains ; you can move multitudes. It's the personality 
of the soul of man that has this immortal influence. 
Printed and written stuff is but an inanimate picture 
a very fine picture sometimes, no doubt, but you get no 
aroma out of a picture. Fancy seeing the Queen of Sheba 
herself, instead of only reading of her in Solomon's print! 
And those Almug trees "And there came no such Almug 
trees, nor were seen until this day." 

To a friend I was once adoring St. Peter (I love his 
impetuosity) I am illustrating how earthly judgments 
are so inferior to heavenly wisdom. St. John, who was 
a very much younger man, out-ran Peter. Up comes 
Peter, and dashes at once into the Sepulchre. Those men 
in war who get there and then don't do anything Cui 
bono? A fleet magnificent, five times bigger than the 
enemy, and takes no risks! A man I heard of his wife, 
separated from him, died at Florence. He was on the 
Stock Exchange. They telegraphed, "Shall we cremate, 
embalm, or bury?" "Do all three," he replied, "take no 
risks!" Some of our great warriors want the bird so ar- 
ranged as to be able to put the salt on its tail. But I 
was speaking of my praising St. Peter. What did my 
friend retort (the judgment of this world, mind you!)? 
"Peter, Sir! he would be turned out of every Club in 
London!" So he would! Thank God, we have a God, 
so that when our turn comes we shall be forgiven much 
because we loved much. 

From this Christian homily I return to what I rather 
vainly hope is my concluding interview. 

Before beginning one of my critics writes to The 


Times saying I am not modest I never said I was. How- 
ever, next day, Sir Alfred Yarrow mentions perhaps the 
most momentous thing I ever did that is the introduction 
of the Destroyer; and the day following Sir Marcus Sam- 
uel writes that I am the God-father of Oil and Oil is 
going to be the fuel of the world. Sir George Beilby is 
going to turn coal into Oil. He has done it. Thank God ! 
we are going to have a smokeless England in consequence, 
and no more fortified coaling stations and peripatetic coal 
mines, or what coal mines were. And then, I was going 
to give some more instances, but that's enough "to point 
the moral and adorn the tale" 


You have given me a list of subjects which you think 
require elucidation in regard to my past years a resume 
especially of the incidents which claim peculiar notice be- 
tween 1902 and 1910; and you ask me to add thereto such 
episodes from the past as will enlighten the reader as to 
how it came about that those big events between 1902 and 
1910 were put in motion. 

It's a big order, in a life of some sixty years on actual 
service with but three weeks only unemployed, from the 
time of entry into the Navy to the time of Admiral of 
the Fleet. 

I begin by being heartfelt in my thankfulness to a 
benign Providence for being capable yesterday, Septem- 
ber 13th, 1919, of enjoying suet pudding and treacle with 
a pleasure equal to that which I quite well remember, of 
having suet pudding and treacle on July 4th, 1854, when 
I went on board H.M.S. "Victory," 101 guns, the flagship 
at Trafalgar of Admiral Lord Viscount Nelson. Yes! 


my thankfulness, I hope, is equal to but hardly as won- 
derful as that of the almost toothless old woman who, 
being commiserated with, replied: "Yes, I only 'as two 
left; but thank God they meet!" So I say, to express 
the same thankfulness with all my heart for the years that 
remain to me, though I have all my teeth or nearly all 
notwithstanding that I have not had even one single 
"thank you" for anything that I have done since King 
Edward died. Nevertheless, I thank that same God as 
the old woman thanked, Who don't let a sparrow fall with- 
out a purpose and without knowledge. 

I have no doubt the slight has done me a lot of good! 

I thought at the age of nineteen, when I was Acting 
Captain of H.M.S. "Coromandel," that I never could 
again be so great. Please look at my picture then. It's 
a very excellent one rather pulled down at the corners 
of the mouth even then. ( The child is father to the man. ) 
And though now nearly as old as Dandolo I don't feel 
any greater than at 19. Dandolo after an escapade at 
the Dardanelles similar to mine, became conqueror of 
Byzantium at 80 years of age. And Justinian's two Gen- 
erals, Belisarius and Narses, were over 70. Dolts don't 
realise that the brain improves while the body decays 
provided of course that the original brain is not that of a 
congenital idiot, or of an effete poltroon who never will 
run risks. 

"Risks and strife" are the bread of Life to a growing 

I beg the reader of this dictation to believe that, what- 
ever he may hear to the contrary (and he probably will), 
though swaggering as I did just now at suet-puddening 
at 79 as efficiently as at nineteen, yet I do daily realise 
what that ancient monk wrote in the year 800, when he 
studied the words of Job that "Man that is born of a 


woman hath but a short time" compared to eternity, and 
death may be always near the door; and no words are 
more beautiful in connection therewith than when a part- 
ing friend at the moment of departure makes us say: 
"Teach us who survive in this and other like daily spec- 
tacles of mortality to see how frail and uncertain our own 
condition is." 

First of all in this Recapitulation comes back to me a 
prophecy I ventured at that age of 19 I have just men- 
tioned that the next great war that we should have at 
sea would be a war of young men. And how beautifully 
this is illustrated by the letter received only a few days 
ago from that boy in Russia (see Chapter IV) where two 
battleships were sent to the bottom and the British sailors 
in command were only Lieutenants. And in passing one 
cannot help paying a tribute to the Subalterns on shore. 
General Sir Henry Rawlinson said lately: "Those who 
really won the war were the young Company Leaders 
and the Subalterns," and pathetic was the usual Gazette 
notice of those killed: 

"Second Lieutenants unless otherwise mentioned." 
There was little "otherwise!" So has it been in the Navy, 
at Zeebrugge and elsewhere. 

There is, however, a very splendid exception when 
all hands, old and young, went to the bottom; and that is 
in the magnificent Merchant Navy of the British Nation. 
Seven million tons sank under these men, and the record 
of so many I've seen who were saved was: "Three times 
torpedoed." And remember! for them no Peerage or 
Westminster Abbey. They didn't even get paid for the 
clothes they lost, and their pay stopped the day the ship 
was sunk. Except in the rare cases where the shipowner 
was the soul of generosity, like my friend Mr. Petersen, 
who paid his men six months or a year to do nothing after 


such a catastrophe. But we go with Mr. Havelock Wil- 
son : "We hope to change all that." For who is going to 
deny, when we all stand up for them, that the Merchant 
Navy shall he incorporated in the Navy of the Nation 
and with all the rights and money and rank and uniform 
and widows' pensions and pensions in old age? All this 
has to come; and I am Mr. Havelock Wilson's colleague 
in that matter, as he was mine in that wonderful feeding 
and clothing of our thousands of British Merchant sailor 
prisoners, who didn't, for some damned red tape reason, 
come within the scope of the millions of money in that 
enormous Prince of Wales's Fund, and the Red Cross. 

Somebody will have to be a martyr, perhaps it's me. 
And I expect I am going to be burnt at the stake for 
saying these things; but in those immortal words of the 
past "I shall light the candle!" Isn't it just too lovely 
when Bishop Latimer, as the flames shot up around 
him at the stake in Oxford in A.D. 1555, cried to his brother 
Bishop, equally burning: 

"Play the man, Master Ridley! We shall this day 
light such a candle by God's Grace in England as I trust 
shall never be put out." 

So may it be in our being burnt for the sake of the 
great Merchant Navy that saved our country! 

As regards the years 1902 to 1910, the first conceptions 
of these great changes stole upon me when I perceived 
in that great Fleet in the Mediterranean how vague were 
the views as to fighting essentials. For instance, in one 
of the lectures to the Mediterranean Fleet Officers I set 
forth a case of so dealing with a hostile fleet that we should 


ourselves first of all deliberately and in cold blood sacri- 
fice several of our fastest cruisers. Why? 

To delay the flying enemy by the wounding of his 
hindermost ships. Possibly a ruthless German Admiral 
might leave a "Bliicher" to her fate; but not so our then 
probable and chivalrous foe ! The most shocking descrip- 
tion I have ever read of the horrors of war was that de- 
tailed by one of the crew of the "Bliicher" as he describes 
Beatty's salvoes gradually approaching the "Bliicher" and 
falling near in the water, and then the hell when these 
salvoes arrived, immediately extinguishing the electric 
light installation, till all below between decks was pitchy 
darkness only lighted up by the bursting shells as they 
penetrated and massacred the crew literally by hundreds, 
who, huddled up together in the "Bliicher's" last moments, 
were hoping behind the thickest armour to escape destruc- 

I saw that the plan of sacrificing vessels in the pursuit 
of an enemy seemed a new feature to my hearers; and 
yet it was as old as the hills. And another "eye-opener" 
I had in the inability to realise so obvious a fact as, alas ! 
was somewhat the case in the North Sea recently that 
you need not be afraid of a mine field; for where the 
enemy goes you can go, if you keep in his wake, that is. 
In close regard with this matter, I am an apostle of "End- 
on Fire," for to my mind broadside fire is peculiarly 
stupid. To be obliged to delay your pursuit by turning 
even one atom from your straight course on to a flying 
enemy is to me being the acme of an ass. And, strange 
to say, in connection with this I, only yesterday, Septem- 
ber 13th, 1919, got a letter from Admiral Weymouth 
a most excellent letter, delightfully elaborating with ex- 
ceptional acuteness this very idea, which came along so 
long ago as 1900, when the first thought of the "Dread- 


nought" came into my brain, when I was discussing with 
my excellent friend, Mr. Card, Chief Constructor of 
Malta Dockyard, the vision of the "Dreadnought." 

I greatly enjoyed years ago overhearing a lady de- 
scribe to another lady, when crossing over to Ryde, a pass- 
ing Ryde passenger steamer (just built and differing very 
greatly from the one we were on board of) as a Battle- 
ship. And she wasn't far out as to what a battleship 
should be. The enterprise of the Ryde Steam Packet 
Company had just produced that vessel, which went just 
as fast astern as she did ahead. In fact, she had no stern. 
There was a bow at each end and a rudder at each end 
and screws at each end; so they never had any bother to 
turn round. Now when you go to Boulogne or Folke- 
stone, I don't know how much time you don't waste fool- 
ing around to go in stern first, so as to be able to come 
out the right way ; and having escaped sea-sickness so far, 
I myself have found that the last straw. Let us hope 
every ship now built after this Chapter will be a "Double- 
Ender." But in this world you are a lunatic if you go 
too fast. 

Take now the submarines. They began by diving head 
first to get below water; and in the beginning some stuck 
their noses in the mud and never came up again, and in 
the shallow waters of the North Sea this limited the di- 
mension of the submarine. But now there's no more 
diving. A lunatic hit by accident on the idea of sinking 
the ship horizontally; so there is no more bother about 
the metricentric problems, and all the vagaries of Stabili- 
ties. No limit to size! 

This sort of consideration brought into one's mind that 
a great "Education" was wanted; and that we wanted 
"Machinery Education," both with officers and men; and 
also that the education should be the education of com- 


mon sense. My full idea of Osborne was, alas! emascu- 
lated by the schoolmasters of the Nation; but it is yet 
going to spread. As sure as I am now dictating to you, 
the practical way of teaching is "Explanation,, followed 
by Execution." Have a lecture on Optics in the morning: 
make a telescope in the afternoon. Tell the boys in the 
morning about the mariner's compass and the use of the 
chart; and in the afternoon go out and navigate a Ship. 

Similarly, with the selection of boys for the Navy, I 
didn't want any examination whatsoever, except the boy 
and his parents being "vetted," and then an interview 
with the boy to examine his personality (his soul, in fact) ; 
and not to have an article in the Navy stuffed by patent 
cramming schoolmasters like a Strasburg goose. A 
goose's liver is not the desideratum in the candidate. The 
desideratum was: could we put into him the four attri- 
butes of Nelson: 

I. Self reliance. 

(If you don't believe in yourself, nobody else 

II. Fearlessness of Responsibility. 

( If you shiver on the brink you'll catch cold, and 

possibly not take the plunge.) 
III. Fertility of Resource. 

(If the traces break, don't give it up, get some 

IV. Power of initiative. 

(Disobey orders.) 


Somewhere about January 15th, 1915, 1 submitted my 
resignation as First Sea Lord to Mr. Churchill because 
of the supineness manifested by the High Authorities as 


regards Aircraft; and I then prophesied the raids over 
London in particular and all over England, that by and 
by caused several millions sterling of damage and an in- 
finite fright. 

I refer to my resignation on the aircraft question with 
some fear and trembling of denials; however, I have a 
copy of my letter, so it's all right. I withdrew my resig- 
nation at the request of Authority, because Authority 
said that the War Office and not the Admiralty were re- 
sponsible and would be held responsible. The aircraft 
belonged to the War Office ; why on earth couldn't I mind 
my own business? I didn't want the Admiralty building 
and our wireless on the roof of it to be bombed ; so it was 
my business (the War Office was as safe as a church, the 
Germans would never bomb that establishment!). 

Recently I fortuned to meet Mr. Holt Thomas, and 
he brought to my recollection what was quite a famous 
meeting at the Admiralty. Soon after I became First 
Sea Lord on October 31st, 1914, I had called together 
at the Admiralty a Great Company of all interested in 
the air; for at that moment I had fully satisfied myself 
that small airships with a speed of fifty miles an hour 
would be of inestimable value against submarines and also 
for scouting purposes near the coast. So they proved. 

Mr. Holt Thomas was a valued witness before the 
Royal Commission on Oil and Oil Engines, of which I 
was Chairman (a sad business for me financially I only 
possessed a few hundred pounds and I put it into Oil 
I had to sell them out, of course, on becoming Chairman 
of the Oil Commission, and what I put those few hundreds 
into caused a disappearance of most of those hundreds, 
and when I emerged from the Royal Commission the oil 
shares had more than quintupled in value and gone up to 
twenty times what they were when I first put in). 


Through Mr. Holt Thomas we obtained the very im- 
portant evidence of the French inventor of the Gnome 
engine that wonderful engine that really made aero- 
planes what they now are. His evidence was of peculiar 
value; and so also was that of Mr. Holt Thomas's expe- 
rience; and the result of the Admiralty meeting on air- 
craft was that we obtained from Mr. Holt Thomas an air- 
ship in a few weeks, when the experience hitherto had 
been that it took years; and a great number of this type 
of aircraft were used with immense advantage in the war. 
I remember so well that the very least time that could be 
promised with every effort and unstinted money, was three 
months (but Mr. Holt Thomas gave a shorter time). In 
three weeks an airship was flying over the Admiralty at 
50 miles an hour ("there's nothing you can't have if you 
want it enough"), and now we've reached the Epoch 
prodigious in its advent when positively the Air com- 
mands and dominates both Land and Sea; and we shall 
witness quite shortly a combination in one Structure of 
the Aeroplane, the Airship, the parachute, the common 
balloon, and an Aerial Torpedo, which will both astound 
people by its simplicity and by its extraordinary possi- 
bilities, both in War and Commerce (the torpedo will be- 
come cargo in Commerce). The aeroplane has now to 
keep moving to live but why should it? The aerial gyro- 
scopic locomotive torpedo suspended by a parachute has 
a tremendous significance. 

And let no one think like the ostrich that burying one's 
head in the sand will make Invention desist. At the first 
Hague Peace Conference in 1899, when I was one of the 
British Delegates, huge nonsense was talked about the 
amenities of war. War has no amenities, although Mr. 
Norman Angell attacked me in print for saying so. It's 
like two Innocents playing singlestick; they agree, when 


they begin, not to hit hard, but it don't last long! Like 
fighting using only one fist against the other man with 
two; the other fist damn soon comes out! The Ancient 
who formulated that "All's fair in love and war" enun- 
ciated a great natural principle. 

"War is the essence of violence" 
"Moderation in War is imbecility" 

The following Reports and letter will illustrate this 
history of my efforts in this direction : 

Lord Fisher returned to the Admiralty on October 30th, 

88 S.S. airships were at once ordered single engine type. Six 

improved type. 

Before Lord Fisher left the Admiralty, a design of a double-engine 

type was got out, and subsequently another 32 airships were ordered. 

CIRCULAR LETTER issued by Lord Fisher in 1914 when 
First Sea Lord: 

Lord Fisher desires to express to all concerned his high 
appreciation of the service rendered by those who carried 
out the recent daring raid on Lake Constance. 

He considers that the flight mentioned, made over 250 
miles of enemy country of the worst description, is a fine 
feat of endurance, courage, and skill, and reflects great 
credit on all who took part in the raid, and through them 
on the Air Service to which they belong. 

The following precis of correspondence is inserted be- 
cause contributory to Lord Fisher's resignation. He had 
previously written to Mr. Churchill, resigning on the 
ground of the disregard of his warnings respecting the 
Aircraft menace : 


An Official Secret German Dispatch, obtained from a 
German Source, dated December 26th, 1914: 

The General Staff of the German Army are sending 
aircraft to attack French fortified places. Full use to be 
made of favourable weather conditions for attack of Naval 
Zeppelins against the East Coast of England with the 
exception of London. The attack on London will follow 
later combined with the German Army Airships. 

Precis of History of Rigid Airships of Zeppelin 

Lord Fisher, when First Sea Lord, in December, 1908, 
instructed Admiral Bacon to press for the construction of 
rigid airships for naval purposes at the meetings of a Sub- 
Committee of the Committee of Imperial Defence, which 
held its first meeting in December, 1908, after many meet- 
ings at which Admiral Bacon presented the naval point of 
view with much lucidity. The Committee recommended 
on January 28th, 1909, the following: 

(a) The Committee are of opinion that the dangers 
to which we might be exposed by developments in aerial 
navigation cannot be definitely ascertained until we our- 
selves possess airships. 

(b) There are good grounds for assurining that air- 
ships will prove of great value to the Navy for scouting 
and possibly for destructive purposes. 1 From a military 
point of view they are also important. 

(c) A sum of 35,000 should be included in the Naval 
Estimates for the purpose of building an airship of a 
rigid type. The sum alluded to should include the cost 
of all preliminary and incidental expenses. 

1 This was written in December, 1908, and our Fleet and ships were always 
dogged in the war by them. 


(d) A sum of 10,000 should be included in Army 
Estimates for continuing experiments with navigable bal- 
loons of a non-rigid type, and for the purchase of com- 
plete non-rigid airships and their component parts. 

January 2Sth, 1909. 

Approved by Committee of Imperial Defence, Feb- 
ruary 25th f 1909. 

And nothing more was done till I came back to Admiralty 
on October 30th, 1914! 

Letter from Admiral Sir S. Eardley Wilmot, for- 
merly Superintendent of Ordnance Stores, Admiralty: 


August ISth, 1916. 


Having given us splendid craft to fight on and un- 
der the sea, I wish you would take up the provision of an 
air fleet. There is going to be a great development of 
air navigation in the future and all nations will be at it. 
With our resources and wealth we can take and keep the 
lead if we like* 

As a modest programme to start with we might aim at 
100 air battleships and 400 air cruisers: all on the "lighter 
than air" principle. 

I met a young fellow who had been in the Jutland ac- 
tion and asked him how the 15-inch guns did. "Splen- 
didly," he said "They did nearly all the real execution." 
I hear the Germans have got 17-inch guns, which is what 
I anticipated, but they won't get ahead of us in that time 
tho' we can't yet snuff out their Zepps, thanks to you 
know who. 

Yours sincerely, 

Note. More than a year before I got this letter I had 
got a 20-inch gun ready to be built for a new type of 
Battle Cruiser! 



As quite a young Lieutenant, with extraordinary im- 
pudence I told the then First Sea Lord of the Admiralty 
that the Hertz German Submarine Mine, which I had 
seen a few days before in Kiel Harbour, would so far 
revolutionise sea warfare as possibly to prevent one fleet 
pursuing another, by the Fleet that was flying dropping 
submarine mines in its wake; and certainly that sudden 
sea operations of the old Nelsonic type would seriously 
be interfered with. He very good humouredly sent me 
away as a young desperado, as he remembered that I had 
been a lunatic in prophesying the doom of masts and sails, 
which were still then magnificently supreme, and the de- 
spised engineer yet hiding his diminished head had to keep 
the smell of oily oakum away from the noses of the Lords 
of the ship. 

That same Hertz mine in all its essentials remains still 
"The King of Mines," and if only in those years imme- 
diately preceding the war we had manufactured none else, 
instead of trying to improve on it, we should have bagged 
no end of big game. But as it was, our mines were squibs ; 
the enemy's ship always steamed away and got into har- 
bour, while ours always went down plump. 

The Policy of the Submarine Mine favoured us, but 
our authorities couldn't see it. I printed in three kinds 
of type: 

(1) Huge capitals; (2) Italics; (3) big Roman block 
letters the following words, submitted to the authorities 
very early in the war: 

"Sow the North Sea with Mines on such a huge scale 
that Naval Operations in it become utterly impossible." 


So you nip into the Baltic with the British Fleet. 

That British Mining Policy blocked the North Sea 
entrance to the Kiel Canal that British Mining Policy 
dished the neutrals. When the neutrals got blown up 
you swore it was a German mine it was the Germans 
who began laying mines; and a mine, when it blows you 
up, don't hand you a ticket like a passport, saying what 
nationality it is. In fact, our mines were so damned bad 
they couldn't help believing it was a German mine. But 
I might add I think they would have sunk any Merchant 
ship, squibs though they were ; and I may add in a paren- 
thesis this British policy of submarine mines for the North 
Sea would have played hell with the German submarines, 
not so much blowing them up but entangling their screws. 

Well, at the last longo intervallo towards the close 
of the war, being the fifteenth "Too Late" of Mr. Lloyd 
George's ever memorable and absolutely true speech, the 
British Foreign Office did allow this policy, and the 
United States sent over mines in thousands upon thou- 
sands, and we're still trying to pick 'em up, in such vast 
numbers were they laid down! 

We really are a very peculiar people. 
Lions led by Asses! 

I bought a number of magnificent and fast vessels for 
laying down these mines in masses no sooner had I left 
the Admiralty in May, 1915, they were so choice that 
they were diverted and perverted to other uses. 

But perhaps the most sickening of all the events of the 
war was the neglect of the Humber as the jumping-off 
place for our great fast Battle Cruiser force, with all its 
attendant vessels light Cruisers, Destroyers, and Sub- 


marines, and mine-layers, and mine-sweepers for offen- 
sive action at any desired moment, and as a mighty and 
absolute deterrent to the humiliating bombardment of our 
coasts by that same fast German Battle Cruiser force. 
The Humber is the nearest spot to Heligoland; and at 
enormous cost and greatly redounding to the credit of the 
present Hydrographer of the Navy, Admiral Learmonth 
(then Director of Fixed Defences), the Humber was 
made submarine-proof, and batteries were placed in the 
sea protecting the obstructions, and moorings laid down 
behind triple lines of defence against all possibility of 
hostile successful attack. 

However, I had to leave the Admiralty before it was 
completed and the ships sent there; and then the mot 
d'ordre was Passivity ; and when the Germans bombarded 
Scarborough and Yarmouth and so on, we said to them 
a la Chinois,, making great grimaces and beating tom- 
toms: "If you come again, look out!" But the Germans 
weren't Chinese, and they came; and the soothing words 
spoken to the Mayors of the bombarded East Coast towns 
were what Mark Twain specified as being "spoke iron- 

I conclude this Chapter with the following words, 
printed in the early autumn of 1914: 

"By the half -measures we have adopted hitherto in 
regard to Open-Sea Mines we are enjoying neither the 
one advantage nor the other." 

That is to say, when the Germans at the very first 
outbreak of war departed from the rules of the Hague 
Conference against the type of mine they used, we had 
two courses open to us: there was the moral advantage 
of refusing to follow the bad lead, or we could seek a 


physical advantage by forcing the enemies' crime to its 
utmost consequences. We were effete. We were pusil- 
lanimous, and we were like Jelly-fish. 

And we "Waited and See'd" 


WE started out on the compilation of this book on the 
understanding that it was not to be an Autobiography, 
nor a Diary, nor Meditations (a la Marcus Aurelius) , but 
simply "MEMORIES." And now you drive me to give you 
a Synopsis of my life (which is an artful periphrasis), 
and request me to account for my past life being one con- 
tinuous series of fightings Love and Hate alternating 
and Strife the thread running through this mortal coil of 
mine. (When a coil of rope is made in a Government 
Dock-yard a coloured worsted thread is introduced ; it runs 
through the centre of the rope: if the rope breaks and 
sends a man to "Kingdom Come," you know the Dock- 
yard that made it and you ask questions ; if it's purloined 
the Detective bowls out the purloiner.) So far my rope 
of life has not broken and the thread is there Strife. 

Greatly daring, and "storms of obloquy" having been 
my portion, I produce now an apologia pro vita mea, 
though it may not pulverise as that great Cardinal pul- 
verised with his famous Apologia ("He looked like 
Heaven and he fought like Hell"). 

Here I would insert a note which I discovered this 
very afternoon sent me by an unknown friend when Ad- 
miral von Spec and all his host went to the bottom. Be- 
fore that event there had been a series of disasters at 
sea, and a grave, uneasy feeling about our Navy was 



spreading over the land. The three great Cruisers 
"Hogue," "Cressy" and "Aboukir" had been sunk near 
the German coast. What were they doing there? Did 
they think they were Nelson blockading Toulon? The 
"Goeben" and "Breslau" had escaped from our magnifi- 
cent Battle Cruisers, then in the Mediterranean, which 
had actually boxed them up in the Harbour of Messina; 
and they had gone unharmed to Constantinople, and like 
highwaymen had held a pistol at the head of the Sultan 
with the threat of bombarding Constantinople and his 
Palace and thus converted Turkey, our ancient ally, into 
the most formidable foe we had. For is not England the 
greatest Mahomedan Power in the world? The escape 
of the "Goeben" and "Breslau" was an irreparable dis- 
aster almost equalled by our effete handling of Bulgaria, 
the key State of the Balkans ; and we didn't give her what 
she asked. When we offered it and more next year, she 
told us to go to hell. Then there was the "Pegasus," that 
could neither fight nor run away, massacred in cold blood 
at Zanzibar by a German Cruiser as superior to her as 
our Battle Cruisers were to von Spec. And last of all, as 
a climax, that sent the hearts of the British people into 
their boots, poor Cradock and his brave ships were sunk 
by Admiral von Spec. I became First Sea Lord within 
24 hours of that event, and without delay the Dreadnought 
Battle Cruisers, "Inflexible" and "Invincible," went 7,000 
miles without a hitch in their water tube boilers or their 
turbine machinery, and arrived at the Falkland Islands 
almost simultaneously with Admiral von Spec and his 
eleven ships. That night von Spec, like another Casa- 
bianca with his son on board, had gone to the bottom and 
all his ships save one and that one also soon after were 
sunk. I have to reiterate about von Spec, as to this day 


the veil is upon the faces of our people, and they do not 
realise the Salvation that came to them. 

1. We should have had no munitions our nitrate 
came from Chili. 

2. We should have lost the Pacific the Falkland 
Islands would have been another Heligoland and a sub- 
marine base. 

3. Von Spec had German reservists, picked up on the 
Pacific Coast, on board, to man the fortifications to be 
erected on the Falkland Islands. 

4. He would have proceeded to the Cape of Good 
Hope and massacred our Squadron there, as he had mas- 
sacred Cradock and his Squadron. 

5. General Botha and his vast fleet of transports pro- 
ceeding to the conquest of German South- West Africa 
would have been destroyed. 

6. Africa under Hertzog would have become German. 

7. Von Spec, distributing his Squadron on every 
Ocean, would have exterminated British Trade. 

That's not a bad resume! 

Now I give the note, for it really is first-rate. Who 
wrote it I don't know, and I don't know the paper that 
it came from: 

"It is amusing to read the eulogies now showered on 
Lord Fisher. He is the same man with the same meth- 
ods, the same ideas, and the same theories and practice 
which he had in 1905 when he was generally abused as an 
unscrupulous rascal for whom the gallows were too good. 
Lord Fisher's silence under storms of obloquy while he 
was building up Sea Power was a striking evidence of 
his title to fame." 

The writer of the paragraph quotes the above words 
from some other paper; then he goes on with the fol- 
lowing remark: 


"We cordially endorse these observations. At the 
same time, not all of those who raised the 'storms of 
obloquy' in 1905 and for some years subsequently are now 
indulging in eulogy. Many of them just maintain a more 
or less discreet silence, varied by an occasional insinua- 
tion either in public or in private that everything is not 
quite as it should be at the Admiralty, or that Lord Fisher 
is too old for his job, etc., etc., etc. As we have often re- 
marked, many of the vituperators of Lord Fisher hated 
him for this one simple reason, that he had weighed them 
up and found them wanting. They had imposed on the 
public, but they couldn't impose on him. Some of these 
vituperators are now discreetly silent, but we know for a 
fact that their sentiments towards the First Sea Lord are 
not in the slightest degree changed." 

To proceed with this synopsis: 

I entered the Navy, July 12th, 1854, on board Her 
Majesty's Ship "Victory," after being medically examined 
by the Doctor on board of her, and writing out from 
dictation The Lord's Prayer; and I rather think I did a 
Rule of Three sum. Before that time, for seven years I 
had a hard life. My paternal grandfather a splendid 
old parson of the fox-hunting type with whom I was to 
live, had died just before I reached England; and no 
one else but my maternal grandfather was in a position 
to give me a home. He was a simple-minded man and 
had been fleeced out of a fortune by a foreign scoundrel 
I remember him well, as also I remember the Chartist 
Riots of 1848 when I saw a policeman even to my little 
mind behaving, as I thought, brutally to passing indi- 
viduals. I remember seeing a tottering old man having 
his two sticks taken away from him and broken across 
their knees by the police. On the other hand, I have to 
bear witness to a little phalanx of 40 splendid police (who 
then wore tall hats and tail coats) charging a multitude 


of what seemed to me to be thousands and sending them 
flying for their lives. They only had their truncheons 
but they knew how to use them certainly. They seized 
the band and smashed the instruments and tore up their 

I share Lord Rosebery's delightful distaste; and wild 
horses won't make me say more about those early years. 
These are Lord Rosebery's delicious words: 

"There is one initial part of a biography which is 
skipped by every judicious reader; that in which the pedi- 
gree of the hero is set forth, often with warm fancy and 
sometimes at intolerable length." 

How can it possibly interest anyone to know that my 
simple-minded maternal grandfather was driven through 
the artifices of a rogue to take in lodgers, who of their 
charity gave me bread thickly spread with butter butter 
was a thing I otherwise never saw and my staple food 
was boiled rice with brown sugar very brown? 

Other vicissitudes of my early years until I became 
Gunnery Lieutenant of the first English Ironclad, the 
"Warrior," at an extraordinarily early age may be told 
some day; and all that your desired synopsis demands is a 
filling in of dates and a few details, till I became the 
Captain of the "Inflexible" the "Dreadnought" of her 
day. I was promoted from Commander to Captain 
largely through a Lord of the Admiralty by chance hear- 
ing me hold forth in a Lecture to a bevy of Admirals. 

October Srd, 1873. 

Mr. Goschen and Milne left at 10 a.m. I stayed and went on 
board "Vernon," Torpedo School Ship, at 11. Had a most interesting 
lecture from Commander Fisher, a promising young officer, and 
witnessed several experiments. The result of my observations was 


that in my opinion the Torpedo has a great future before it and that 
mechanical training mill in the near future be essential for ojficert. 
Made a note to speak to Goschen about young Fisher. 

That was in 1873. More than thirty years after, 
"Young Fisher" was instrumental in making this prin- 
ciple the basis of the new system of education of all naval 
cadets at Osborne. 

I remember so well taking a "rise" out of my exalted 
company of Admirals and others. The voltaic element, 
which all lecturers then produced with gusto as the ele- 
mentary galvanic cell, was known as the "Daniell Cell." 
A bit of zinc, and a bit of copper stuck in sawdust sat- 
urated with diluted sulphuric acid, and there you were! 
A bit of wire from the zinc to one side of a galvanometer 
and a bit of wire from the copper to the other side and 
round went the needle as if pursued by the devil. 

There were endless varieties of this "Daniell Cell," 
which it was always considered right and proper to de- 
scribe. "Now," I said, "Sirs, I will give you without any 
doubt whatsoever the original Daniell Cell" at that mo- 
ment disclosing to their rapt and enquiring gaze a huge 
drawing (occupying the whole side of the lecture room 
and previously shrouded by a table cloth) the Lions with 
their mouths firmly shut and Daniel apparently biting his 
nails waiting for daylight! Anyhow, that's how Rubens 
represents him. 

I very nearly got into trouble over that "Sell." Ad' 
mirals don't like being "sold." 

I should have mentioned that antecedent to this I had 
been Commander of the China Flagship. I wished very 
much for the Mediterranean Flagship; but my life-long 
and good friend Lord Walter Kerr was justly preferred 
before me. The Pacific Flagship was also vacant; and 
I think the Admiral wanted me there, but I had a won- 


H. M. S. "Highflyer," China. 


1904. AGED 63. ADMIBAL 

Comtnander-in-Chief at Portsmouth. 



derful good friend at the Admiralty, Sir Beauchamp Sey- 
mour, afterwards Lord Alcester, who was determined I 
should go to China. So to China I went; and, as it hap- 
pened, it turned out trumps, for the Admiral got soften- 
ing of the brain, and I was told that when he got home 
and attended at the Admiralty I was the only thing in 
his mind; the only thing he could say was "Fisher!" And 
this luckily helped me in my promotion to Post Captain. 
After starting the "Vernon" as Torpedo School of 
the Navy and partaking in a mission to Fiume to arrange 
for the purchase of the Whitehead Torpedo, I was sent 
at an hour's notice overland to Malta, where on entering 
the harbour I noticed an old tramp picking up her anchor, 
and on enquiry found she was going to Constantinople, 
where the ship I was to command was with the Fleet un- 
der Sir Geoffrey Hornby. I went alongside, got up a 
rope ladder that was hanging over the side and pulled up 
my luggage with a rope's end, when the Captain of the 
Tramp came up to me and said: "Hullo!" I said 
"Hullo!" He said, "What is it you want?" He didn't 
know who I was, and I was in plain clothes, just as I had 
travelled over the Continent, and I replied: "I'm going 
with you to Constantinople to join my ship"; and he said, 
"There ain't room; there's only one bunk, and when I 
ain't in it the mate is." I said, "All right, I don't want 
a bunk." And he said, "Well, we ain't got no cook." And 
I said, "That don't matter either." That man and I till 
he died were like Jonathan and David. He was a mag- 
nificent specimen of those splendid men who command 
our merchant ships I worshipped the ground he trod on. 
His mate was just as good. They kept watch and watch A 
and it was a hard life. I said to him one day, "Captain, 
I never see you take sights." "Well," he said, "why 
should I? When I leaves one lamp-post I steers for the 


other" (meaning lighthouses) ; "and," he says, "I trusts 
my engineer. He gives me the revolutions what the en- 
gine has made, and I know exactly where I am. And," 
he says, "when you have been going twenty years on the 
same road and no other road, you gets to know exactly 
how to do it." "Well," I said, "what do you do about 
your compass? are you sure it's correct? In the Navy, 
you know, we're constantly looking at the sun when it 
sets, and that's an easy way of seeing that the compass 
is right." "Well," he said, "what I does is this. I throws 
a cask overboard, and when it's as far off as ever I can 
see it, I turns the ship round on her axis. I takes the 
bearing of the cask at every point of the compass, I adds 
'em all up, divides the total by the number of bearings, 
which gives me the average, and then I subtracts each 
point of the compass from it, and that's what the compass 
is wrong on each point. But," he says, "I seldom does it, 
because provided I make the lamp-post all right I think 
the compass is all right." 

I found Admiral Hornby's fleet at Ismid near Con- 
stantinople, and Admiral Hornby sent a vessel to meet 
me at Constantinople. He had heard from Malta that I 
was on board the tramp. That great man was the finest 
Admiral afloat since Nelson. At the Admiralty he was a 
failure. So would Nelson have been! With both of them 
their Perfection was on the Sea, not at an office desk. 
Admiral Hornby I simply adored. I had known him 
many years; and while my cabins on board my ship were 
being painted, he asked me to come and live with him 
aboard his Flagship, which I did, and I was next ship to 
him always when at sea. He was astounding. He would 
tell you what you were going to do wrong before you did 
it; and you couldn't say you weren't going to do it be- 
cause you had put your helm over and the ship had begun 


to move the wrong way. Many years afterwards, when 
he was the Port Admiral at Portsmouth, I was head of 
the Gunnery School at Portsmouth, and, some war scare 
arising, he was ordered to take command of the whole 
Fleet at home collected at Portland. He took me with 
him as a sort of Captain of the Fleet, and we went to 
Bantry Bay, where we had exercises of inestimable value. 
He couldn't bear a fool, so of course he had many enemies. 
There never lived a more noble character or a greater sea- 
man. He was incomparable. 

After commanding the "Pallas" in the Mediterranean 
under Sir Geoffrey Hornby, I was selected by Admiral 
Sir Cooper Key as his Flag Captain in North America 
in command of the "Bellerophon" ; and I again followed 
Sir Cooper Key as his Flag Captain in the "Hercules" 
when he also was put in command of a large fleet on an- 
other war scare arising. It was in that year I began the 
agitation for the introduction of Lord Kelvin's compass 
into the Navy, and I continued that agitation with the 
utmost vehemence till the compass was adopted. After 
that I was chosen by Admiral Sir Leopold McClintock, 
the great Arctic Explorer, to be his Flag Captain on the 
North American Station, in the "Northampton," then a 
brand new ship. He again was a splendid man, and his 
kindness to me is unforgettable. He had gone through 
great hardships in the Arctic once he hadn't washed for 
179 days. He was like a rare old bit of mahogany; and 
I was told by an admirer of his that when the thermometer 
was 70 degrees below zero he found the ship so stuffy that 
he slept outside on the ice in his sleeping bag. 

I was suddenly recalled to England and left him with 
very deep regret in the West Indies to become Captain 
of the "Inflexible." I had the most trying parting from 


that ship's company of the "Northampton"; and not being 
able to stand the good-bye, I crept unseen into a shore 
boat and got on board the mail steamer before the crew 
found out that the Captain had left the ship. And the 
fine old Captain of the Mail Steamer Robert Woolward 
by name caught the microbe and steamed me round and 
round my late ship. He was a great character. Every 
Captain of a merchant ship I meet I seem to think better 
than the last (I hope I shan't forget later on to describe 
Commodore Haddock of the White Star Line, for if ever 
there was a Nelson of the Merchant Service he was) . But 
I return to Woolward. He had been all his life in the 
same line of steamers, and he showed me some of his corre- 
spondence, which was lovely. He was invariably in the 
right and his Board of Directors were invariably in the 
wrong. I saw a lovely letter he had written that very 
day that I went on board, to his Board of Directors. He 
signed himself in the letter as follows: 

"Gentlemen, I am your obedient humble servant" (he 
was neither), "ROBERT WOOLWARD Forty years in your 
employ and never did right yet." 

I must, while I have the chance, say a few words about 
my friend Haddock. It was a splendid Captain in the 
White Star steamer in which I crossed to America in 
1910, and I remarked this to my Cabin Steward, as a 
matter of conversation. "Ah!" he said, "you should see 
'addick." Then he added, "We knows him as 'addick of 
the 'Oceanic.' Yes," he said, "and Mr. Ismay (the Head 
of the White Star Line) knows him too!" The "Oceanic" 
was Mr. Ismay's last feat in narrowness and length and 
consequent speed for crossing the Atlantic. I have heard 
that when he was dying he went to see her. This con- 
versation never left my mind, although it was only the 


cabin steward that told me; but he was an uncommon 
good steward. So when I came back to the Admiralty as 
First Sea Lord on October 31st, 1914, I at once got hold 
of Haddock, made him into a Commodore, and he com- 
manded the finest fleet of dummy wooden "Dreadnoughts" 
and Battle Cruisers the world had ever looked on, and 
they agitated the Atlantic, and the "Queen Elizabeth" in 
wood got blown up by the Germans at the Dardanelles 
instead of the real one. The Germans left the other bat- 
tleships alone chasing the "Elizabeth." If this should 
meet the eye of Haddock, I want to tell him that, had I 
remained, he would have been Sir Herbert Haddock, 
K.C.B., or I'd have died in the attempt. 

Now you have got perhaps not all you want, but suffi- 
cient for the Notes to follow here. 


I was appointed Gunnery Lieutenant of the "War- 
rior" our First Ironclad in 1863, when I was a little over 
22 years old. I had just won the Beaufort Testimonial 
(Senior Wrangler), and that, with a transcendental Cer- 
tificate from Commodore Oliver Jones, who was at that 
time the demon of the Navy, gave me a "leg up." 

The "Warrior" was then, like the "Inflexible" in 1882 
and the "Dreadnought" in 1905, the cynosure of all eyes. 
She had a very famous Captain, the son of that great 
seaman Lord Dundonald, and a still more famous Com- 
mander, Sir George Try on, who afterwards went down in 
the "Victoria." She had a picked crew of officers and 
men, so I was wonderfully fortunate to be the Gunnery 
Lieutenant, and at so young an age I got on very well, 
except for sky -larking in the ward-room, for which I got 


into trouble. There was a dear old grey-headed Pay- 
master, and a mature Doctor, and a still more mature 
Chaplain, quite a dear old Saint. These, with other wil- 
ling spirits of a younger phase, I organised into a peripa- 
tetic band. The Parson used to play the coal scuttle, 
the Doctor the tongs and shovel, the dear old Paymaster 
used to do the cymbals with an old tin kettle. The other 
instruments we made ourselves out of brown paper, and 
we perambulated, doing our best. The Captain came out 
of his cabin door and asked the sentry what that noise was? 
We were all struck dumb by his voice, the skylight being 
open, and we were silent. The Sentry said: "It's only 
Mr. Fisher, Sir!" so he shut the door! The Commander, 
Sir George Tryon, wasn't so nice ! He sent down a mes- 
sage to say the Gunnery Lieutenant was "to stop that 
fooling!" (However, this only drove us into another kind 
of sport!) We were all very happy messmates; they 
kindly spoilt me as if I was the Baby. I never went ashore 
by any chance, so all the other Lieutenants liked me be- 
cause I took their duty for them. One of them was like 
Nelson's signal he expected every man to do his duty! 
I was his bosom friend, which reminds me of another mess- 
mate I had who, the witty First Lieutenant said, always 
reminded him of Nelson! Not seeing the faintest resem- 
blance, I asked him why. "Well," he said, "the last thing 
Nelson did was to die for his country, and that is the last 
thing this fellow would do!" It may be an old joke, but 
I'd never heard it before, and it was true. 

I got on very well with the sailors, and our gunnery 
was supposed to be A 1. They certainly did rush the 
guns about, so I was sent in charge of the bluejackets to 
a banquet given them ashore. I imagined that on our 
return they might have had a good lot of beer, so I 
appealed to their honour and affection, when we marched 


back to the ship in fours, to take each other's arms. They 
nobly did it! And I got highly complimented for the 
magnificent way 'they marched back through the streets!! 
And this is the episode! The galleries at the banquet 
were a mass of ladies, and very nice-looking ones. When 
the banquet was over, the Captain of the Maintop of 
the "Warrior," John Kiernan by name, unsolicited, stood 
up in his chair and said: "On behalf of his topmates he 
wished to thank the Mayor and Corporation for a jolly 
good dinner and the best beer he'd ever tasted." He 
stopped there and said : "Bill, hand me up that beer again." 
Bill said there was no more ! A pledge had been given by 
the Mayor that they should have only two bottles of beer 
each. But this episode was too much for the Mayor, 
and instantly in came beer by the dozen, and my beloved 
friend, the Captain of the Maintop, had another glass. 
This is how he went on (and it was a very eloquent speech 
in my opinion. I remember every word of it to, this day) 
He said: "This is joy," and he looked round the galleries 
crowded with the lovely ladies, and said: "Here we are, 
British Sailors entirely surrounded by females!!" They 
waved their handkerchiefs and kissed their hands, and 
that urged the Captain of the Maintop into a fresh flight 
of eloquence. "Now," he said, "Shipmates, what was it 
like now coming into this 'ere harbour of Liverpool" (we 
had come in under sail) ; "why," he said, "this is what it 
was like, sailing into a haven of joy before a gale of pleas- 
ure." I then told him to shut up, because he would spoil 
it by anything more, and Abraham Johnson, Chief Gun- 
ner's Mate, my First Lieutenant, gave him more beer! 
and so we returned. 

Abraham Johnson was a wonder! When the Admiral 
inspected the "Warrior," Abraham Johnson came to me 
and said he knew his Admiral, and would I let him have 


a free hand? I said: "All right!" When the ship was 
prepared for battle, the Admiral suddenly said: "I'll go 
down in the Magazine," and began going down the steps 
of the Magazine with his sword on! Abraham was just 
underneath down below, and called up to the Admiral: 
"Beg pardon, Sir! you can't come down here!" "D n 
the fellow! what does he mean?" Abraham reiterated: 
"You can't come down here." The Admiral said: 
"Why not?" "Because no iron instrument is allowed in 
the Magazine," said Abraham. "Ah!" said the Admiral, 
unbuckling his sword, "that fellow knows his duty. This 
is a properly organised ship!" 

It is seldom appreciated it certainly was not then 
appreciated on board the "Warrior" when I was her 
Gunnery Lieutenant that this, our first armour-clad 
ship-of-war, the "Warrior," would cause a fundamental 
change in what had been in vogue for something like a 
thousand years! For the Navy that had been founded 
by Alfred the Great had lasted till then without any 
fundamental change till came this first Ironclad Battle- 
ship. There is absolutely nothing in common between 
the fleets of Nelson and the Jutland Battle! Sails have 
given way to steam. Oak to steel. Lofty four-decked 
ships with 144 guns like the "Santissima Trinidad," to 
low-lying hulls like that of the first "Dreadnought." 
Guns of one hundred tons instead of one ton! And 
Torpedoes, Mines, Submarines, Aircraft. And then even 
coal being obsolete ! And, unlike Nelson's day, no human 
valour can now compensate for mechanical inferiority. 

I rescue these few words by a survivor of the German 
Battle Cruiser "Bliicher,"sunk on January 24th, 1915, by 
the British Battle Cruisers "Lion" and "Tiger." The 
German Officer says: 


"The British ships started to fire at us at 15 kilometres 
distant" (as a matter of fact it was about 11 to 12 miles). 
"The deadly water spouts came nearer and nearer! The 
men on deck watched them with a strange fascination! 

"Soon one pitched close to the ship, and a vast watery 
billow, a hundred yards high, fell lashing on the deck! 

"The range had been found! 

"The shells came thick and fast. The electric plant 
was destroyed, and the ship plunged into a darkness that 
could be felt! You could not see your hand before your 
nose! Below decks were horror and confusion, mingled 
with gasping shouts and moans! At first the shells came 
dropping from the sky, and they bored their way even to 
the stokeholds! 

"The coal in the bunkers was set on fire, and as the 
bunkers were half empty the fire burnt fiercely. In the 
engine-room a shell licked up the oil and sprayed it around 
in flames of blue and green, scarring its victims and blaz- 
ing where it fell. Men huddled together in dark com- 
partments, but the shells sought them out, and there Death 
had a rich harvest." 

I forgot to say we had a surprise visit from Garibaldi 
on board the "Warrior" Garibaldi, then at the zenith of 
his glory. The whole crew marched past him singing 
the Garibaldi Hymn. He was greatly affected. It was 
very fine indeed ; for we had a picked stalwart crew, and 
their sword bayonets glistening in the sun, and in their 
white hats and gaiters they looked, as they were, real 
fighting men! And then, in a moment, they stripped 
themselves of their accoutrements and swarmed up aloft 
and spread every sail on the ship, including studding sails, 
in a few minutes. It was a dead calm, and so was feasible. 

From the "Warrior" I went to the gunnery school 
ship, the "Excellent"; and it was during these years that 
some of my "manias" began to display themselves, the re- 


suit being that three times I lost my promotion through 

It had fortuned that in 1868, when starting the Science 
of Under- Water Warfare as applied to the Ocean, I met 
a humble-minded armourer whose name was Isaac Tall, 
and for many years we worked together. He devised, 
amongst other inventions, an electrically-steered steam 
vessel that could tow barges laden with 500 Ib. mines 
which were dropped automatically at such a distance 
apart as absolutely to destroy all hostile mines in a 
sufficient area to give a passage for Battleships. Small 
buoys were automatically dropped as the countermines 
were dropped to mark the cleared passage. That inven- 
tion, simplicity itself, still holds the field for clearing a 
passage, say, into the Baltic. Not one single man was on 
board the steam vessel of the Barges carrying the counter 

Before leaving the Admiralty, in January, 1910, I 
introduced the use of Trawlers, and we employed them 
in experimental trials, clearing away hostile mines. Our 
mines in those days were very inferior to the Hertz Ger- 
man Mine, which really remains still the efficient German 
Mine we have to contend with. In 1868 I took out a 
provisional patent for a Sympathetic Exploder, and 
strange to say, it is now coming into play in a peculiar 
form as a most effective weapon for our use. 

I have remarked elsewhere how the First Lord of that 
date did not believe in mines or torpedoes, and I left for 
China as Commander of the China flagship. 

Archbishop Magee, that wonderful Prelate who asked 
some layman to interpret his feelings when the footman 
spilt the onion sauce over him, said of "Exaggerations" 
that they were needful ! He said you wanted a big brush 
to produce scenic effects! A camel's-hair brush was, no 


doubt, the inestimable weapon of Memling in those 
masterpieces of his minute detail that were at Bruges 
when I was a young Post Captain, and that so entranced 
me there. Ah! that wonderful Madame Polsonare 
where we lodged ! How she did so well care for us ! The 
peas I used to watch her shelling ! The three repositories : 

First the old ones to be stewed. 
Second those for the Polsonare Family. 
Thirdly the youngest and sweetest of the peas for us 
her lodgers! 

And how most delicious they were! And how delightful 
was old "Papa" Polsonare! and the daughters so plump 
and opulent in their charm! 

And their only son the "brave Beige!" He was a 
soldier! What has become of them now? They cared 
for us as their very own, and charged us the very minimum 
for our board and lodging! And having nothing but my 
pay then, I was grateful! And the Kindergarten so 
delightful! The little children all tied together by a rope 
when they went out walking. Pamela was my youngest 
daughter. "The last straw" was her nickname! And it 
was written up over the mantelpiece that it was "defendu" 
to kiss Pamela! She was about three years old, I think, 
and went to school with a bun and her books strapped to 
her back, and when the Burgomaster gave away the prizes 
she was put on a Throne to hand them out (dressed as 
a Ballet Dancer!). But alas! when the moment came 
she was found to be fast asleep! 

I am always so surprised that so little notice is taken 
of Satan's dramatic appearance before the Almighty with 
reference to the Patriarch Job. It's so seldom that Satan 
in person comes before us. He usually uses someone 


else, and in this case of Job it's quite the most subtle 
innuendo I ever came across! It so accentuates what 
occurs in common life! 

"Doth Job fear God for nought?' Well may one be 
thankful and prayerful when prosperity is showered on 
one! Can you be so in adversity and affliction unde- 
served and unexplainable ? However, Job got through 
all right! But Prayer is as much misunderstood as 
Charity. A splendid Parson in Norfolk replied to his 
congregation who asked him to pray for rain that really 
it was useless while the wind was east! Also it appears 
to me that one farmer, wanting rain for his turnips, 
doesn't have any feeling for the other man who is against 
rain because of carrying his crop of something else. 
Indeed the pith and marrow of prayer is that it must be 
absolutely unselfish, and so Dr. Chalmers accordingly 
acutely said the finest prayer he knew was: "Almighty 
God, the Fountain of all Wisdom, who knowest our 
necessities," etc. (see Collects at end of Communion 

Coming home from the China Station in 1872, I was 
Commander of the old Battleship "Ocean." She was an 
old wooden Line of Battleship that had armour bolted 
on her sides. When we got into heavy weather, the 
timbers of the ship would open when she heeled over 
one way, and shut together when she heeled the other, 
and squirted the water inboard! And always we had 
many fountains playing in the bottom of the ship from 
leaks, some quite high. At Singapore the Chaplain left 
us; he couldn't face it, as we were going home round the 
Cape of Good Hope at the stormy season. So I did 
chaplain! When we put into Zanzibar on the East Coast 
of Africa, I heard there was a sick Bishop ashore from 
Central Africa who had been carried down on a shutter 


with fever. I went to see him, to ask whether he could 
take on next day, Sunday, and give the crew a change! 
He turned out to be a splendid specimen, and had given 
up a fat living in Lincolnshire to be a Missionary. I 
found him eating boiled rice and a hard boiled egg on a 
broken plate we gave him a good feed when he came 
on board but I am telling the story because his Sermon 
was on Prayer. He gave us no text, but began by saying 
he had been wondering for the last half-hour what on 
earth that thing was overhead between the beams on the 
main deck where we were assembled! Of course we 
knew it was one of the long pump handles for pumping 
the ship out with the chain pumps (a thing of past ages) 
all the crew had to take continually to the pumps, she 
was leaking so badly and "There!" he said, "I'm a 
Bishop, and instead of saying my prayers I've been letting 
my thoughts wander," and he gave us a beautiful ex- 
tempore sermon on wandering thoughts on Prayer that 
hit everyone in the eye! 

I believe he died there in Central Africa, a polished 
English gentleman, with refined tastes and delighting in 
the delicacies of a cultured life! A missionary had come 
preaching at his Country Church, and had made him 
ashamed of his life of ease, so he told me! 

We got into a fierce gale off the Cape, and I began to 
envy the Chaplain we had left behind at Singapore, es- 
pecially when the Captain said he thought there was noth- 
ing for it but for me, the Commander, to go aloft about 
the close reefed fore topsail as the men would follow no 
one of lower rank. My monkey jacket was literally 
"blown into ribbons !" I had heard the expression before, 
but never had realised it could be exact! 

Sir Thomas Troubridge foundered with all hands in 
the exact place in an old two-decker I think it was the 


"Blenheim." He was Nelson's favourite, and got ashore 
in the "Culloden" at the Nile; but that's another story 
as Mr. Kipling says! 


The "Inflexible" in 1882 was a wonder. She had the 
thickest armour, the biggest guns, and the largest of every- 
thing beyond any ship in the world. A man could crawl 
up inside the bore of one of her guns. Controversy had 
raged round her. The greatest Naval Architects of the 
time quarrelled with each other. Endless inventions were 
on board her, accumulated there by cranks in the long 
years she took building. A German put a new type of 
gas into the engine room, which was lovely, and no smell, 
so bright, so simple! But when it chanced to escape 
from a leaky joint, it descended and did not rise, so it 
got into all the double bottoms and nearly polished off a 
goodly number of the crew. There were whistles in my 
cabin that yelled when the boiler was going to burst, or 
the ship was not properly steered, and so on. So to be 
Captain of the "Inflexible" was much sought after. As 
each name was discussed by the Board of Admiralty it 
got "butted," that is to say, it would be remarked: "Yes, 
he's a splendid officer and quite fit for it, but ' and 
then some reason was adduced why he should not be 
selected (he had murdered his father, or he had kissed the 
wrong girl!) Lord Northbrook, who was First Lord, got 
sick of these interminable discussions as to who should 
be Captain of the "Inflexible," so he unexpectedly said 
one morning: "Do any of you know a young Captain 
called Fisher?" And they all having no notion of what 
was in Lord Northbrook's mind, and I being well known 
to each of them had no "buts"! So he got up and said: 
"Well, that settles it. I'll appoint him Captain of the 


'Inflexible.' ' I was about the Junior Captain in the big- 
gest ship ! 

However, the "Inflexible" brought me to death's door, 
as I was suddenly struck down by dysentery when ashore 
in charge of Alexandria after the bombardment. I had 
arranged an armoured train, with which we used to 
reconnoitre the enemy, who were in great strength and 
only a few miles off. The Officer who took my place in 
the armoured train the day after I was disabled by dysen- 
tery was knocked over by one of the enemy shells, and 
so it was telegraphed home that I was killed, and Queen 
Victoria telegraphed back for details, and very in- 
teresting leading articles appeared as to what I might 
have been had I lived. Lord Northbrook telegraphed for 
me to be sent home immediately, kindly adding that the 
Admiralty could build another "Inflexible" but not 
another Fisher. 

As I was being carried on board, in a brief moment's 
consciousness I heard the Doctor say : "He'll never 
reach Gibraltar!" and then and there I determined 
I would live. When I got home, Lord Northbrook ap- 
pointed me Head of the Gunnery School of the Navy. 
Queen Victoria asked me to stay at Osborne, and did so 
every year till she died ; and this in spite of the fact that she 
hated the Admiralty, and didn't much care for the Navy. 

I kept on being ill from the effects of the dysentery 
for a long time, but Lord Northbrook never let go my 
hand. When all the doctors failed to cure me, I acciden- 
tally came across a lovely partner I used to waltz with, 
who begged me to go to Marienbad, in Bohemia. I did 
so, and in three weeks I was in robust health. It was 
the Pool of Bethesda, and this waltzing angel put me into 
it, for it really was a miracle, and I never again had a 
recurrence of my illness. 



LORD ROSEBERY may have forgotten it, but in one of 
our perigrinations round and round Berkeley Square (I 
lived next door to him) he made a remark to me which 
made a deep and ineffaceable impression on me that he 
felt sure one of the great reasons of Nelson being so in the 
hearts of his countrymen was the conviction that he had 
been slighted by Authority and even so -after his death. 
Unquestionably his brother Admirals were envious. He 
was kept kicking his heels at Merton on half pay in mo- 
mentous times, and so poor as to necessitate his get- 
ting advances from his Banker. He was cavalierly 
treated when he was told to haul down his flag and come 
home after the Battle of the Nile. I know all about the 
Queen of Naples and Lady Hamilton ; but what was that 
in comparison with his astounding genius for war and 
his hold on the Fleet? And I want to draw attention to 
this delightful trait in his glorious character. Supposing 
(what I don't admit) that there was any irregularity in 
his attachment to Lady Hamilton, he never disguised his 
feeling for her, or his gratitude to her for all she did for 
his grievously wounded and frail body after the Nile 
and her splendid conduct in getting his Fleet revictualled 
and stored by the Neapolitans through her influence with 
the King and Queen, when all the Authorities were 
against it. He used to ask his Captains to drink her 
health, and said (in my opinion quite truly), that if there 
were more Emmas there would be more Nelsons. 

1 60 


Then look at the Battle of the Nile! It was an 
incomparable battle but it only made Nelson into a 
Common or Garden Lord; when the Battle of Cape 
St. Vincent, which was practically won by Nelson, made 
Sir John Jervis into an Earl. History is so written that 
no end of literary gentlemen will endeavour to confute 
all I am saying by extracts (or, as they will call them, 
facts) from Contemporary Documents and Newspapers. 
Well now, to-day, read the Morning Post and Daily News 
on the same incident! (For myself I prefer the Daily 
News. ) Again, Nelson died poor. That appeals. What 
Prize Money might he not have accumulated, had he 
chased dollars as he chased the enemy! Then with his 
dying breath, mortally wounded in the hour of the greatest 
of sea victories, he asks his country to provide for his 
friend as he could do nothing for her himself; and, what- 
ever may have been her faults, she had nursed and tended 
him, not only when sorely wounded after the Nile, but 
afterwards when his frail body was almost continuously 
racked with pain. She died in penury and found a 
pauper's grave in a foreign land. A passing Englishman 
paid her funeral expenses. It makes one rise up and say 

That vivid immortal spirit, whose life was his coun- 
try's, who never flogged a man; whose heart was tender 
and "worn on his sleeve for daws to peck at," has to suffer 
even now for miscreants who published his letters to this 
friend of his that only her eye was meant to see. Also, 
Prudes nowadays forget how very different was the 
standard of morals at that time. Does not history tell us 
that Dukes were the honoured results of illicit relation- 
ships? And we don't think any the worse of Abraham 
because he was the husband of more than one wife. But 
let that pass. I heard yesterday that a distinguished Bishop 


said he loved my sentiments but not my words. But 
fancy! Nelson left on half-pay in War! It's unbeliev- 
able, but yet it so happened. It was envy; and he was no 
sycophant, so he couldn't be a courtier. It was so with 
him as with our great Exemplar: "The Common People 
heard him 'gladly." And what a "Send-off" it was on 
Southsea beach at Portsmouth when he embarked for 
Trafalgar! What a scene it was, with these Common 
People surging round him none else were there, and 
neither the King nor the Admiralty sent a dummy, as is 
customary, to represent them. But isn't it always the 
way? General Booth and Doctor Barnardo weren't buried 
in Westminster Abbey; but they had a more glorious 
funeral millions of the "Common People" followed 
them to their graves, unmarshalled and unsolicited. Give 
me the Common People, and a fig for your State cere- 
monial ! 

Perhaps in this cursory view of Nelson one may be 
permitted to seize on what appears to me the central in- 
cident of his life, which so peculiarly illustrates his extra- 
ordinary genius for War. His audacity! His imagina- 
tion! His considered rashness! I think myself the Battle 
of the Nile is that incident for this reason: that it has 
been recorded in writing what actually occurred to Lord 
Nelson and to the French Admiral at the very same in- 
stant of time each having at his side the very same offi- 
cer in each Fleet. It was sunset. Nelson was walking 
the deck with the Navigating Officer of the Fleet the 
"Master of the Fleet" was his technical title. The look- 
out man at the mast-head reports seeing on the horizon the 
mast-heads of a mass of ships at anchor it was the 
French fleet in Aboukir Bay. Nelson instantly stops in 
his walk and orders the signal to the Fleet to make all 
possible sail and steer for the enemy. He is remon- 


strated with, both by his own officers on board and by his 
favourite Captain of the Fleet at going in to fight the 
French Fleet without any charts. If he waited till the 
sun rose, they would be able to see from aloft the shoal 
water and so steer with safety alongside the enemy. Nelson 
answers his favourite Captain that if that Captain's ship 
does get on shore, as he fears, then she'll be a buoy to show 
him where anyhow one shoal is. Troubridge did get on 
shore, and he was a buoy. Nelson went in. The French 
Admiral blew up at midnight in his flagship the "Orient" 
and Casabianca, his Captain, and his son are the theme 
of a great poem: "The boy stood on the burning deck." 

The French Admiral was walking up and down the 
deck with his Master of the Fleet, when his look-out man 
at the mast-head reported on the horizon the topmast 
sails of a number of ships. The French Admiral stopped 
in his walk as abruptly as Nelson and at the very same 
instant that Nelson stopped in his walk; but he said "It's 
the English Fleet, but they won't come in to-night. They 
have no charts!" So he did not recall his men from the 
shore and in the result his fleet was destroyed, and the 
one or two ships that did escape under Admiral Dumanoir 
were captured. And Napoleon wrote, "But for Nelson 
at the Nile I would have been Conqueror of the World" 
or words to that effect. And yet Nelson was only made 
a common or garden Lord for this great battle, and spent 
two years on the Continent kicking his heels about to pass 
the time before returning to England. Imagine! he 
wasn't wanted! I think Lord Rosebery was right 
Nelson being slighted has led to his greater appreciation. 

Again even a greater slight, a slight he feels more 
when he looks down from his monument in Trafalgar 
Square, does he see anywhere those splendid Captains of 
his? But let alone those Captains of his does he see 


anywhere a single Admiral? Not one. And yet who made 
England what she is? Those splendid Sea Heroes are in 
very deed "England's forgotten worthies" ! Yes ! Nelson 
looks down from his isolated column, and looks in vain 
for Hawke, Dundonald, Howe, Hood, Rodney, Corn- 
wallis, Benbow, "and a great multitude which no man 
can number" all Seamen of Deathless Fame, fighting 
single frigate actions, cutting out the enemy's ships from 
under the guns of forts, sending in fire ships and burn- 
ing the enemy's vessels thought to be safe in harbour under 
the guns of their forts Doers of Imperishable Deeds ! * 
Death found them fighting. We have heaps of statues 
to everybody else. Indeed such a lot of them that they 
reach down as far off as Knightsbridge. But who knows 
about Quiberon one of the greatest of sea fights? And 
if you mention Hawke, your friend probably thinks only 
of his worthy descendant the cricketer. 

An old woman eating a penny bun asked a friend of 
mine called Buggins, when she was passing through Tra- 
falgar Square, "What are them lions a-guarding of?" 
Buggins told her that her penny bun would have cost her 
threepence if it hadn't been for the man them lions were 
a-guarding of. 

When I see the Duke of York's Column still allowed 
to rear its futile head, and scores of other fifth-rate nonen- 
tities glorified by statues, I thank God I'm a sailor we 
don't want to be in that galley! 

I began my sea life with the last of Nelson's Captains, 
through Nelson's own niece; and I fitly, I think, among 
my last words may ask the Nation to do justice to Nelson's 

1 There are statues of Franklin and of Robert Falconer Scott in Waterloo 
Place; but neither of these displayed his heroism in naval action. They were 
each peaceable seekers but what on earth good accrues from going to the 
North and South Poles I never could understand no one is going there when 
they can go to Monte Carlo! 


Trade! This country owes all she has to the sea, it was 
the sea that won the late war, and if we'd stuck to the 
sea we should not now be thinking of bankruptcy and some 
of us imagining Carthage! We were led away by Mili- 
tarist folly to be a conscript Nation and it will take us all 
we know to recover from it. We shall recover, for Eng- 
land never succumbs! 



LORD ESHER has kindly sent me three bulky volumes 
of letters I wrote him from 1903 onwards I have others 
also. Many of them are unquotable, so blasting are they 
in their truth to existing reputations. It's not my busi- 
ness to blast reputations so the real gems are missing. 

Somebody felt in 1903 that the War Office was wrong, 
and so a Committee was set up with Lord Esher as 
President, Sir George Clarke and myself the other two 
members; and that very able and not sufficiently recog- 
nised man, now General Sir C. Ellison, was Secretary. 
How I got there is still a mystery ; but it was a great en- 
joyment as Generals came to stay with me at Admiralty 
House, Portsmouth I was the Port Admiral. I always 
explained to them I was Lord Esher's facile dupe and 
Sir George Clarke's servile copyist, and thereby avoided 
odium personally (I was getting all the odium I wanted 
from the Admirals!) 

As usual, when we reported, the Government didn't 
appreciate those inestimable words "Totus Porous" (No 
Government anyhow no English Government ever 
yet went "the whole hog" "Compromise" is the British 
God!). 1 

*In the following selections, words between square brackets are not part 
of the original letters. 



1903 [Sir John Fisher, Commander-in-Chief at 
Portsmouth] . 

. . . My humble idea is that ff men are everything and 
material nothing" whether it's working the War Office or 
fighting a fleet! So some day I am going to try and en- 
tice you to read my lectures to the Officers of the Mediter- 
ranean Fleet because the spirit intended to be diffused by 
them is what I think is the one great want in the British 
Army, and without it 50,000 Lord Eshers would be no 
good in producing "Angel Gabriel" organisations! The 
Military system is rotten to the very core! You want to 
begin ab ovo! The best of the Generals are even worse 
than the subalterns because they are more hardened sin- 
ners ! I fear I shocked Ellison, but he is simply first class 
and I most heartily congratulate you on your selection. 
... I really begin to feel I never ought to have joined 
you, as I have some very big jobs on now which require 
incessant personal attention and this must be my excuse 
for not coming up to see Girouard this week. I have the 
new Civil Lord staying with me and I have got to pre- 
vent him joining with a lot of asses at the Admiralty, who 
want to throw half a million of money in the gutter. 

Nov. IQth, 1908. 

On my return I found the first proofs of your three 
papers. I have studied them with close care and interest. 
There are some points of detail which puzzle me, but it 
seems you are absolutely convincing on the main lines. 
What I venture to emphasise in this : We cannot reform 
the Army Administration until it is laid down what it is 
the Administration is going to Administer! For instance, 
the Citizen Army for Home Defence! Are we going to 
have it? If so, then you will certainly want a Member of 
the Board or Council to superintend it! Again, I say, 
the Regular Army (as distinguished from the Home 
Army and the Indian Army) should be regarded as a pro- 
jectile to be fired by the Navy! The Navy embarks it and 


lands it where it can do most mischief! Thus, the .Ger- 
mans are ready to land a large Military Force on the 
Cotentin Peninsula in case of War with France and my 
German Military Colleague at the Hague Conference told 
me this comparatively small Military Force would have 
the effect of demobilising half a million of men who would 
thus be taken away from the German Frontier they 
never know where the devil the brutes are going to land! 
Consequently instead of our Military Manoeuvres being 
on Salisbury Plain and its vicinity (ineffectually aping 
the vast Continental Armies!) we should be employing 
ourselves in joint Naval and Military Manoeuvres em- 
barking 50,000 men at Portsmouth and landing them at 
Milford Haven or Bantry Bay! This would make the 
Foreigners sit up! Fancy! in the Mediterranean Fleet 
we disembarked 12,000 men with guns in 19 minutes! 
What do you think of that! and we should hurry up the 
soldiers! No doubt there would be good-natured chaff! 
Once we embarked 7,000 soldiers at Malta and took them 
round and landed them elsewhere for practice, and I re- 
member having a complaint that the Bluejackets said 
"Come on, you bloody lobsters! Wake up!" However, 
all the above en passant. I expect the Prime Minister 
must have pretty good ideas now crystallised as to how 
the Army should be constituted let us ask him for this 
at once if he hasn't got it, let us tell him we must have 
it, because as I said at starting, you can't organise an ad- 
ministration without clearly knowing what you are going 
to administer. This is a hasty bit of writing but not a 
hasty thought. 

Nov. 25th. 

I send you two books a more portly volume I hesitate 
to send! Also I fear without some verbal explanation 
you may not see the application to Military matters of 
these purely Naval Notes, but they do apply in the spirit 
if not in the letter! For instance I had an overwhelming 
confidence that every Officer and man in the Mediter- 


ranean Fleet had also an overwhelming confidence that 
we thoroughly knew all we had to do in case of war in 
every conceivable eventuality! Well! that is the confi- 
dence you also want in an Army! Have you got it! 


Here is a letter just come from Prince Louis of Bat- 
tenherg illustrating what I was saying to you this morning 
as to a Member of the Board of Admiralty however 
junior in rank being accepted as a superior controlling 
authority by all in rank above him. Ail Officer actually 
at the moment serving under Prince Louis in the Admir- 
alty itself being put over Prince Louis in the Admiralty 
itself, and sending for him and giving him orders! I 
don't know that it would be possible to have a stronger 
case to quote when by and by we have to defend or rather 
have to lay down and define the status of the Members 
of the New War Office Board. Inglefield, the new Naval 
Lord, being a Junior Captain, will be sending for Ad- 
miral Boys, Director of Transports, who is specially un- 
der him and who I rather think entered the service before 
Inglefield was born. 

Dec. 4i&. 

.... You are right about the Submarines! 

"We strain at the gnat of perfection and swallow the 
camel of unreadiness* 3 and that permeates every branch 
of Naval and Military Administration, forgetting the 
homely proverb that "half a loaf is better than no bread!" 
but please God! "the dauntless three" [Sir Geo. Clarke, 
Lord Esher and Sir John Fisher] (as I see we are now 
called) will change all that! "We'll stagger humanity" 
as old Kruger said! 

Dec. 7th. 

Arnold-Forster [Secretary for War] has been here 
three days and he is most cordially with us. I wish you 
had been here with him. He places implicit trust in us. 


He has shown me an outline of an excellent memorandum 
proposing an immediate reduction of 300,000 men and 
he will let me have a copy as soon as printed, also a memo- 
randum of his difficulties in the War Office. . . . This is 
another proof of the value of the advice of my Military 
Nicodemus (he is one of the Sanhedrin!) that there must 
be an active "clear-out" of the present military gang, root 
and branch, lock, stock, and gunbarrel ! Sir John French 
and General Smith-Dorrien (lately Adjutant-General in 
India) are names I have suggested to Arnold-Forster as 
members of his new Board. 

Dec. llth. 

.... Don't forget your phrase "the biennial fort- 
nightly picnic"! it's splendid! That will fetch the mothers 
of families and reconcile them to the Swiss system! I 
hope you won't lose any time in talking to the Prime 
Minister and showing him the immense advantages that 
will accrue from his turning over further matters to us 
instead of dear Arnold-Forster "raising Cain" as he surely 
will do! It would be so easy to associate Sir John French, 
Hildyard and Smith-Dorrien (very curious that all these 
three Generals were first in the Navy and got their early 
education there) with us for the further matters. 

Dec. 17th. 

Another Military Nicodemus came to see me yester- 
day. I had never met him before! He occupies a high 
official position. He highly approved of you and me, "but 
he had never heard of the third member of the Committee. 
What a pity they had not put a soldier on the Commit- 
tee!" (How these Christians hate one another!) But the 
point of his remarks was the present system of Army Pro- 
motions, which he said was as iniquitous and baleful in 
its influence as could be possibly conceived, and then he 
illustrated by cases of certain officers made Generals. My 
only object in writing this to you is Selborne having 
spoken of the Admiralty method where the first Lord has 


the Naval Members of the Board in consultation, but he 
and his Private Secretary (who is always a Naval Officer 
of note) have the real responsibility. 

Dec. 20th. 

is and always has been drastic in his ideas of 

military reform, and I cordially agree with him and Stead 
agrees with me that the British Public loves a root and 
branch reform. One remnant left of the old gang or the 
organisations and you taint the whole new scheme 1 

Don't fear about Arnold-Forster. He will come with 
us all right you are absolutely sound on the Patronage 
question, but I would have the soldiers precisely on the 
same footing as Tyrwhitt at the Admiralty [Private Sec- 
retary. He was my Flag Captain] for detailed reasons 
I will give you when we meet. It is an ideal arrange- 
ment (the Private Secretary at Admiralty). He has the 
power, he pulls the strings, he has no position, he causes 
no jealousy, he talks to all the Lords as their servant, 
and he manipulates them all and oils the machine for his 
special master, the First Lord, to perpetrate a job when 
necessary! Make him a big-wig like an Official Military 
Secretary, and all this goes he becomes too big for his 
boots ! 

Dec. 21st. 

. . . I've been bombarded by Stead. I tried to boom 
him off but the scoundrel said if I didn't see him, he would 
have to invent ! I pointed out to him my metier was that 
of the mole ! Trace me by upheavals ! When you see the 
Admirals rise it's that d d fellow Jack Fisher taking 
the rise out of them! So I implored Stead to keep me out 
of the Magazine Rifle [this was my name for The Review 
of Reviews] or he will interfere with my professional 
career of crime. So please use your influence with him 
in the same direction. You and Clarke are the two legiti- 
mate members of the Committee to be trotted out, as you 
are both so well known. No sailor is ever known. The 


King was awfully good about this. He said "Sailors went 
all round the world but never went in it"! Stead is a 
very keen observer, as you know. He said our Committee 
could do anything, and that neither the Press nor Parlia- 
ment nor the Public would tolerate any Military opposi- 
tion to us because the whole Military hierarchy was utterly 
discredited from top to bottom ; but he doubted The Times 
I don't. Further he expressed his firm belief there 
would be a change of Government possibly at Easter but 
certainly soon if so we ought on that ground alone to 
"dig out" with our Report. 

(No date.) 

Knollys was very much impressed by the possibilities 
of the Submarine when he was down here. He saw them 
to better advantage than you did, as it was blowing half 
a gale of wind with a good sea on when he saw the evolu- 
tionising! and it was very striking. I am working sub- 
terraneously about the Submarines and there are already 
"upheavals" in consequence. 

Jan 5th. 

... I yesterday sent all my plans to French for em- 
barking the whole of his First Army Corps on Monday, 
June 27th (Full Moon) at Portsmouth, and he is coming 
here with his Chief Staff Officer, Sir F. Stopford, next 
week, and we'll land him like Hoche's Army in Bantry 
Bay! [Sir John French commanded at Aldershot. The 
War Office stopped this.} 


Jan 17th. 

.... For the reason I have given you at length in 
another letter I am convinced that French should be 
1st Military Member and under him there should be 
8 Directors (not Hieroglyphics such as A.Q.M.G., 
D.A.Q.M.G., A.Q.M.G. 2, etc., etc.). 


Sir F. Stopford Director of Intelligence and Mobi- 

Gen. Grierson Director of Training. 
Gen. Maxwell Director of Home Defence. 

Also I still maintain that Smith-Dorrien and Plumer 
should be the 2nd and 3rd Military Members, and perhaps 
one young distinguished Indian Officer as 4th Military 
Lord. Haig, Inspector-General of Cavalry in India, 
should be brought home as the principal Director under 
2nd Military Lord. We must have youth and enthusiasm, 
because it is only by the agency of young and enthusiastic 
believers in the immense revolution which must be carried 
out, that our scheme can bear fruit. The first thing of 
all is that every one of the "old gang" must be cleared 
out! "lock, stock, and gunbarrel, bob and sinker!" The 
next is that every one of the new men must be successful 
'men, and must be young and enthusiastic and cordial 
supporters of the new policy over every fellow's door at 
the War Office under the new regime has got to be written 
in large letters: 

"No looking back. Remember Lot's wife!" 

(No date.) 

The next pressing and important matter we have to 
deal with is to get the right men as Members of the new 
Army Council. Either you or Clarke have made a splen- 
did observation that a rotten system may be run effectively 
by good men but duffers would spoil the work of the 
Angel Gabriel! . . . If we don't get in men who will 
enthusiastically adopt our scheme and work with us, LET 
us THROW UP AT ONCE ! as we shall only have an awful 
fiasco and I (for one) don't want to go down with my 
grey hairs to the grave sorrowing and discredited ! There- 
fore I suggest to you that we should agree on our men and 
run them at once! Like fighting the French Fleet! it's 
half the battle gained to take the offensive, propose our 
men, give their advantages and ask them (our enemies) 


what they have to say against them and suggest every 
beastly thing we can against any likely competitors Se- 
lection by Disparagement! I put forward names in en- 
closed paper simply as a basis. 

1st Military Member Sir John French, because he 
never failed in Africa (the grave of Military Reputa- 
tions). He is young and energetic, has commanded the 
1st Army Corps so far with conspicuous success and has 
the splendid gift of choosing the right men to work with 
him (vide his Staff in S. Africa, the best Staff out there) 
and as 1st Military Lord it would be his special function 
to prepare the Army in the Field for fighting, and who 
therefore better to command it when war breaks out. as 
his functions then at the War Office would disappear and 
be transferred to the Commander-in-Chief at the seat of 
war Further, he is an enthusiastic and out-and-out be- 
liever in joint Naval and Military operations as the proper 
species of manoeuvres for this Nation. In this belief he 
is almost solitary amongst all the Generals, who all want 
to play at the German Army. "Plump for French and 
Efficiency!" Any vote given against French is a vote 
given for Kelly-Kenny instead! 

2nd Military Member. Smith-Dorrien. Has been 
with great success in every campaign for the last 20 years, 
has been Adjutant-General in India (a much bigger billet 
than Adjutant-General in London!). He is young and 
energetic and is an .extremely conciliatory and accom- 
plished gentleman and would work the personnel of the 
Army (which would be his chief function as the Second 
Military Member) far better than some "safe" old man 
because he is in touch with the young generation. He 
took a Marine Officer of the Mediterranean Fleet as his 
A.D.C. when appointed a Brigadier in South Africa, be- 
cause he considered him the ablest young officer in the 
Malta Garrison ! Utterly shocking all the Military Man- 
darins. "Vote for Smith-Dorrien and Progress!" 

"Every vote given against Smith-Dorrien is a vote for 
[A lady who then "ran" the War Office!] 

3rd Military Member. Supplies and Transport. 


General Plumer. The only man besides French that never 
failed in anything he undertook in Africa! They say he 
has "the luck of the Devil," but the fact is that "the luck 
of the Devil" is wholly attributable to a minute attention 
to anything that will ensure the success of his (Satanic 
Majesty's) designs, and he leaves nothing to chance! 
Such is Plumer! He also is young, energetic and en- 

"Vote for Plumer and a full belly! 3 ' 

"Every vote given against Plumer is a vote given for 
paper boots and no ammunition!" 

4th Military Member General F. G. Slade, now In- 
spector General of Garrison Artillery has served in six 
campaigns and always come out top: has been in the 
Horse, Field and Garrison Artillery and commanded at 
Gibraltar. He is young and energetic and enthusiastic 
and will blow the trumpet of the Board (as well as his 
own!) . 

Vote for Slade and hitting the Target!" 

"Every vote given against Slade will be a vote given 
in favour of some d d old woman" . . . 

Jan. 31st. 

Post Office Telegraphs. Government Despatch 
No. . . . "Await Arrival." 

Lord Esher Windsor Castle. 

In reply to your telegram just received our committee 
manoeuvres commenced at Portsmouth on December 30 
beating Moses by nine days as he took 40 days before he 
got down from the Mount with his report but if you refer 
to submarine manoeuvres I have last night put them off 
to February twenty third to last three weeks from that 
date stop I see we are accused of not giving credit to the 
good motives that have always actuated the War Office 
stop Why is the War Office like hell answer because it 
is paved with good intentions Sir John Fisher Ports- 

[Not bad for an official telegram!] 


Feb. 1ft. 

... I really think it is of extreme importance that 
you should be on the spot daily just now, as without 
doubt "wire-pulling" of the "Eve" order will be going 
on. When the other day I met those three ladies on the 
back stairs of the War Office all in picture hats and smell- 
ing of White Rose or some other beastly thing, I thought 
to myself "How about Capua?" for really they were very 
nice looking indeed. You know the story about them 
having the entree to the War Office! 

Feb. 28th. 

Best of Chairmen! Snatch a moment to look through 
enclosed ... as I am dead gone on starting the idea of 
a general list of officers, and general uniform and early 
entry and they will all go to sea, but I don't want to 
mention that yet awhile ; it will come of itself when 3/5 ths 
of every man-of-war's crew are soldiers; that's not many 
years hence and will bring the income tax down to 3 pence 
in the pound! Mark my words! this will come, but it's 
no use giving people premature shocks, so let me keep it 
quiet now. My idea is to acclimatise the chosen few to 
it first of all and then gradually spread it about, and when 
Kitchener comes home he will see it through. ( He shares 
my view, I know.) 


(?) March. 

. . . Campbell-Bannerman told me last night he in- 
tended to make a special point of the Secretary of State's 
responsibility and power being unduly lessened, and he 
would not admit that the new order of things makes him 
the same as the First Lord of the Admiralty! . . . To 
avoid the slightest misconception that may arise as to the 
lessening of tne parliamentary responsibility of the Secre- 
tary of State for War by the formation of the Army 


Council or of his supreme authority as the Cabinet Min- 
ister responsible for the Army, it's only necessary to reit- 
erate and emphasise the statement that he is absolutely 
in the same position as the First Lord of the Admiralty, 
the patent constituting the Army Council being abso- 
lutely similar to the Admiralty Patent and no question 
has ever been raised nor is there any doubt whatever of 
the reform and present responsibility of the First Lord 
of the Admiralty as the Cabinet Minister responsible for 
the Navy. 

March 10th. 

Just back from the English Channel with the Subma- 
rines and am very enthusiastic! . . . We really must 
arrange to get the British Army to Sea somehow or other! 
Yesterday all the mice died in their cages and two of the 
crew fainted, but the young Lieutenant of the Submarine 
didn't seem to care a d n whether they all died so long 
as he bagged the Battleship he was after, and he prac- 
tically got her and then he came up in his Submarine to 
breathe! Depend on it we shall have more "Niles" and 
"Trafalgars" so long as we continue to propagate such 
"young bloods" as this! But see how splendid if we could 
shove the same "ginger" into the young Military aspirants, 
and they all came from the same schools! but the whole 
secret is to catch them very young and mould them while 
they are then so plastic and receptive to be just what 
you want them. Another submarine had an explosion 
which made the interior "Hell" for some seconds (as the 
Submarine was bottled up and diving to evade a De- 
stroyer who had caught her with a hook), but the Sub- 
marine Lieutenant saw them all d d first before he would 
rise up and be caught. Another young fire-eater had his 
periscope smashed but bagged a battleship nevertheless 
by coming up stealthily to blow just like a beaver, and 
look round. It really is all lovely! but what I am writing 
about is you must embark an Army Corps every year 
and give them sea training. 



I must here interpose a few words to explain that I 
had submitted an elaborate method of increasing the 
military efficiency of officers first by very early entry 
as in the Navy having free or State education for them 
hence "Equal opportunity for all": Officers' pay of 
all ranks to be sufficient for them to live on and the regi- 
mental system abolished and the same system as in the 
Navy by which military officers would serve in all arms 
Engineers, Artillery, Cavalry and Infantry, instead of 
being familiar with but one part of their profession. When 
the Sea Lords sit round the Board of Admiralty they can 
talk about anything, because they've been in every type of 
vessel and every branch of their Profession. Again, in 
a good regiment the promotion is slow because the officers 
stick to it. In a bad regiment the promotion is rapid be- 
cause everyone wants to leave it. Then, finally, I sub- 
mitted the idea of the Army and Navy being incorporated 
in one great Service. There is no going aloft now a> 
ship can be manned by soldiers with equal efficiency as by 
sailors. You want nucleus crews thoroughly used to the 
ship and always in her, knowing all her foibles. Brains 
the Beef needn't be equally clever! The military offi- 
cers in the Peninsular War only 16 years old were splen- 
did and they were numerous.] 


March 20th. Telegram. 

Suggest if Prime Minister takes no immediate action 
he may be asked that the Committee in self-defence be 
allowed to make correspondence public, as already I am 
hearing from influential friends that we are discredited 
by having made exaggerated and unjustifiable statements 


and that besides the scandalous and disparaging words of 
the Secretary of State in the House of Commons that the 
Prime Minister has more or less disavowed us by the 
tenour of his remarks. ... I venture to suggest to you 
that it is a great mistake for our Committee to be made 
a catspaw to suit Cabinet susceptibilities or parliamentary 
wirepulling and that we press for a full and complete 

May 26th. 

. . . Arnold-Forster spent several hours here with 
me yesterday and he is coming again to-day discussing 
his difficulties. I tell him he can't expect his Council all 
at once to possess the attributes of the Board of Admiralty 
(which he so intensely admires) which began in 1619! 
They want to be educated. The individual Members are 
far too subservient now and do not realise they are ad- 
ministrative members and not Army Officers. They must 
go about in plain clothes and a tall hat, and order Field 
Marshals about like schoolboys ! . . . 

June 17th. 

... It would have been simply disastrous to have had 
an increased Army Vote. Has Clarke ever come to close 
quarters with you as to his project for getting the Army 
Estimates down to 23 millions? for that is really the figure 
which represents the proportionate part of the total sum 
which I make out to be available for the fighting services, 
and unless some such figure can be arrived at for the 
Army, I do not think the British Public will face the re- 
duction in the Navy Estimates which I see to be possible 
with the increased efficiency; because they will rightly 
argue that the Navy is the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th ad infinitum 
line of defence, and it is simply monstrous therefore that 
the bloated Army should starve the essential Navy. . . . 
It is this Army Vote that absolutely blocks me, because 
I am perfectly certain it will wreck us unless it can be 


brought down to some such figure as 23 millions at the 
outside. That N.-W. Frontier of India is the bug-bear 
which has possessed the whole lot of our present rulers! 
and there is no "advocate of the devil" to plead the other 
side. So I hope you will put that mind of yours to work 
to make the Prime Minister see his mission to cut down 
the Army Vote to 23 millions and then we can go ahead 
and get that threepenny income tax we all so long for and 
which we can get if we like! 


I was with the Prime Minister from 12.30 to 4 p.m. 
He was most pleasant and delightful but evidently didn't 
see his way to making the reduction in the Army Vote 
which is imperative. . . . He and all the rest appear 
stupefied by the Indian Frontier Bogey and the 100,000 
men wanted. I gave him figures to show the Army had 
been increased 60,000 odd men in 10 years. If he would 
reduce them at once he would get nearly threepence off 
the income tax and get rid of his recruiting difficulties. 
The Auxiliary Forces 4% millions absurd the Volun- 
teers 2 millions still more absurd! 

July 16th. 

A.-F/s scheme rotten! You have hit the nail on the 
head about expense. He had the remedy in the palm of 
his hand! He simply had to reduce what the Army had 
unnecessarily increased in 10 years the 60,000 officers 
and men and he got 6 millions sterling (including the 
accessories) and solved the recruiting question! . . . 
3,700 Royal Engineers put on in 10 years and only 1/3 
of them went to the war in S.A.! the rest enjoying them- 
selves in civilian work ! and was there ever such ineptitude 
as trying to make them into railway men, electric engi- 
neers and sailors for submarine mines when you have the 
real thing in abundance in the railway and telegraph work- 
men of the country and fishermen for any water work? 
This is only one sample. Every blessed item of the mili- 


tary organisation is similarly rotten! Why? Because 
the military system of entry and education is rotten. 

July 28th. 

. . . We have a new scheme for a reorganisation of 
the whole Admiralty and have got the Order in Council 
for it ! The new scheme gives the First Sea Lord nothing 
to do, except think and send for Idlers! It also resusci- 
tates the old titles of Sea Lords dating from A.D. 1613, 
but which some silly ass 100 years ago altered to Naval 

August Ifth. 

... I have got 60 sheets of foolscap written with all 
the new Naval proposals and am pretty well prepared for 
the fray on October 21st. 

[Sir John Fisher became First Sea Lord of the Admir- 
alty on October 21st (Trafalgar Day), 1904; and the 
correspondence is scanty between that date and the 
autumn of 1907.] 



... I really can't understand Mr. Buckle giving 

his head in this way in the columns of The Times! but I 
suppose it "catches on" and makes the flesh creep of the 
"old women of both sexes 3 ' (as Lord St. Vincent called 
the "Invasion lot" in his day!) and his memorable saying 
so infinitely more true now than then. When asked his 
opinion of the possibility of an invasion, he replied "that 
if considered as a purely military operation he was loth 
to offer an opinion but he certainly could positively state 
it could never take place by sea!" 



Oct. 1th. MOLVENO. 

. . . My unalterable conviction is that the Committee 
of Imperial Defence is tending rapidly to become a sort 
of Aulic Council and the man who talks glibly, utterly 
irresponsible, will usurp the functions. of the two men 
who must be the "Masters of the War" The First Sea 
Lord and the Chief of the General Staff. Make no mis- 
take I don't mean those two men are to be Dictators, 
but the Government says : "Do so and so I" These are the 
two executive Officers. ... In regard to the "Invasion 
Bogey" about which I am now writing to you, how curi- 
ous it is that from the German Emperor downwards their 
hearts were stricken with fear that we were going to at- 
tack them. . . . Here is an interview between Beit and 
the German Emperor given me at first hand, immediately 
on Beit's return from Berlin. 

Beit: "Your Majesty is very greatly mistaken in 
supposing that any feeling exists in England for war with 
Germany. I know both Mr. Balfour and Sir Henry 
Campbell-Bannerman are absolutely averse to any such 
action. I know this of my own personal knowledge." 

The Emperor: "Yes, yes, but it doesn't matter 
whether either of them is Prime Minister or what party 
is in power. Fisher remains! that's the vital fact! I ad- 
mire Fisher. I say nothing against him. If I were in his 
place I should do all that he has done (in concentrating 
the British Navy against Germany) and I should do all 
that I know he has it in his mind to do. Isvolsky, the 
Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs, holds the same 

And yet Mr. Leo Maxse gibbets Sir John Fisher every 
month in the National Review as a traitor to his country 
and a panderer to Germany, who "ought to be hung at 
his own yard arm!" 

Nov. 28th. 

Can you manage to be at my room at Admiralty at 
11.30 sharp to-day (Saturday) to see arrangements for 


swallowing the German Mercantile Marine, and other 
War Apparatus? [i.e., "The Spider's Web"]. 

Dec. 12th. 

... I hope the Admiralty memorandum is to your 
satisfaction of course it is only the first instalment. 
What fascinates me is that the Committee as a whole 
don't seem to take the point that the whole case of Roberts 
rests on an absolute Naval surprise, which is really a sheer 
impossibility in view of our organised information. 

Jan. 1st. 

... I had a tete-a-tete lunch with Winston Churchill; 
he unexpectedly came to the Admiralty and I was whirled 
off with him to the Ritz. I had two hours with him. He 
is very keen to fight on my behalf and is simply kicking 

with fury at & Co., but I've told him the watchword 

is "Silence." He is an enthusiastic friend certainly! He 
told me he would get six men on both sides to join in con 
amore, F. E. Smith, &c., &c. I forget the other names. 
It was rather sweet : he said his penchant for me was that 
I painted with a big brush ! and was violent ! I reminded 
him that even "The Kingdom of Heaven suffereth vio- 
lence, and the violent take it by force" vide yesterday's 
Second Lesson. 

Jan. 17th. 

Secret. ... I rather want to keep clear of Defence 
Committee till Morocco is settled, as I don't want to dis- 
close my plan of campaign to am/one, not even C.-B. him- 
self. The only man who knows is Sir Arthur Wilson, and 
he's as close as wax ! The whole success will depend upon 
suddenness and unexpectedness, and the moment I tell 
anyone there's an end of both!!! So just please keep me 
clear of any Conference and personally I would sooner 


the Defence Committee kept still. I'm seeing about the 
Transports. I started it about 7 weeks ago and got 3 of 
my best satellites on it. ... So you'll think me a villain 
of the deepest dye! 


(?) Feb. 9th. 

. . . We want both a re-distribution as well as a re- 
organisation of the Army and the (comparatively) small 
Regular Army should be based on the system of "Nucleus 
Crews" that is to say the whole body of Officers are pro- 
vided and 2/5 ths (or the expert) part of the crew, and 
the other 3/5ths of the Army you get from the outside 
Army by whatever name you like to call it National 
Army, or Citizen Army, or Lord Lieutenant's Army. 

Feb. 21st. 

. . . Secret. Tirpitz asked a mutual civilian friend 
living in Berlin to enquire very privately of me whether 
I would agree to limiting size of guns and size of ships, 
as this is vital to the Germans, who can't go bigger than 
the Dreadnought in guns or size. I wrote back by return 
of post yesterday morning "Tell him I'll see him d d 
first!" (Them's the very words!) I wonder what Wil- 
helm will say to that if Tirpitz shows him the letter! 

Apr. 19th. 

... I got a note to say the King wanted to see me 
this afternoon at 3 p.m. . . . Private. I got 3 letters 
from the King at Biarritz, all extremely cordial and com- 
municative and unsought by me. I mention this to prove 
to you his kindly feelings and support. . . . When I met 
the King on arrival he said I was to be sure and see him 
as he had something serious to say to me. I suppose I 
was with him more than an hour, and he was as cordial 
and friendly as ever; and this was the serious thing "that 
I was Jekyll and Hyde! Jekyll in being successful at 


my work at the Admiralty but Hyde as a failure in 
Society! That I talked too freely and was reported to 
say (which of course is a lie) that the King would see 
me through anything! That it was bad for me and bad 
for him as being a Constitutional Monarch ; if the Prime 
Minister gave me my conge, he couldn't resist it, &c., &c." 
... I told the King that if I had never mentioned His 
Majesty's name in my life, precisely the same thing would 
be said out of sheer envy of His Majesty being kindly 
disposed, and it could not be hid that the King had backed 
up the First Sea Lord against all kinds of opposition 
As a matter of fact I never do go into Society, and only 
dine out when I'm worried to meet the King, and I'm not 
such a born idiot as to have said any such thing as has been 
reported to the King (it is quite likely someone else has 
scdd it!) Well he left that (having unburdened his mind) 
and smoked a cigar as big as a capstan bar for really a 
good hour afterwards, talking of everything from China 
to Peru, not excluding The Times article on himself. . . . 
Oh! he said something of how I worked the Press, but I 
didn't follow that up. No one knows, except perhaps 
yourself, that unless I had arranged to get the whole force 
of public opinion to back up the Naval Revolution it 
would have been simply impossible to have carried it 
through successfully, for the vested interests against me 
were enormous and the whole force of Naval opinion was 
dead against me. But I did venture one humble remark 
to the King: "Has anyone ever been able to mention to 
Your Majesty one single little item that has failed in the 
whole multitude of reforms introduced in the last 3% 
years?" No! he said. No one had! So I left it there. 
... If the Angel Gabriel were in my place he would be 
falsely accused. I'm only surprised that the King hasn't 
been told worse things perhaps he has! "Let him that 
thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall." I always 
have that thought, and hope the King will have a cottage 
somewhere in Windsor Forest or elsewhere which he will 
kindly give me when it happens, so that I can come over 
and have a yarn with you ! 


May 5th. 

4.15 a.m. The Early Bird!! . . . Yesterday, with all 
Sea Lords present, McKenna formally agreed to 4 Dread- 
noughts and if necessary 6 Dreadnoughts next year (per- 
haps the greatest triumph ever known ! ) . . . He tells me 
Harcourt for certain will resign on it ... and he is par- 
ing down the money with a view to Supplementary Esti- 
mates. . . . This is what I suggest to you to impress on 
Lloyd George: Let there be no mistake about the two 
Keels to one in Dreadnoughts! Let Lloyd George re- 
assure McKenna and tell him to have no fear it doesn't 
affect next year, as McKenna consents to 4 or even 6; 
but it does affect the year after, and the Admiralty 
Finance should be arranged accordingly and not deplete 
next year at expense of year after. I wonder if this is 
all clear to you that McKenna is going to give us the 
numbers for next year all right. Shove in again the great 
fact The Navy and Army Estimates not far different in 
magnitude, and yet the Army not big enough to fight 
Bulgaria, and the Navy can take on all the Navies of the 
world put together. "Ut veniant omnesllT- -"Let 'em 
all come!" You might tell Lloyd George he can rely on 
my parsimony. 

Sept. 8th. 

. . . "The heart untravelled fondly turns to home." 
We have no poets nowadays like Pope, Goldsmith and 
Gay only damned mystical idiots like Browning and 
Tennyson that want a dictionary and the Differential- 
Calculus sort of mind to understand what they are driv- 
ing at! 

... I sat several times [on a recent visit abroad] be- 
tween Stolypin, the Russian Prime Minister, and Isvol- 
sky, the Foreign Secretary. I didn't begin it, but Stoly- 
pin said to me, "What do you think we want most?" He 
fancied I should answer, "So many battleships, so many 
cruisers, &c., &c.," but instead I said: "Your Western 


Frontier is denuded of troops and your magazines are de- 
pleted. Fill them up, and then talk of Fleets!" Please 
see enclosure from Kuropatkin's secret report: "The 
foundation of Russia s safety is her Western boundary!!!" 
. . . Have you seen Monsieur Rousseau (I think is his 
name) in Le Temps? I had an extract of it, and put it 
aside to send you, but alas ! it has gone. "Procrastination 
is the thief of good intentions" which is not so good as 
"Punctuality is the curse of comfort." But the good 
Frenchman (like Monsieur Hanotaux before him) is lost 
in admiration of what moved Mahan to his pungent say- 
ing that Garvin seized on with the inspiration of genius 
"that 88 per cent, of the English guns were trained on 
Germany!" . . . By the way, I've got Sir Philip Watts 
into a new Indomitable that will make your mouth water 
when you see it! (and the Germans gnash their teeth!). 


The King has sent me a dear letter, and adds "Don't 
print this!" Isn't he a sweet? What wonderful friends 
I have! It's a marvel! All I do is to kick their shins. 

(No date.) 

... I am going to ask you to reconsider your sup- 
plementary paper herewith. I can't find that the Ad- 
miralty have admitted that 24,000 men would ever start 
off together as two raids of 12,000 each. I personally 
have expressed my decided opinion (I think at the 7th 
meeting) [of the Committee of Imperial Defence] to the 
contrary. Indeed, I am emphatically of opinion that no 
raid of any kind [that is, landing of troops'] is feasible 
with all our late developments, which are developing fur- 
ther every day (e.g., we have our wireless on top of Ad- 
miralty Building and are communicating with the Scilly 
Islands now and shortly I hope Gibraltar and so certainly 
to every point of the .German coast where we shall have 
Wireless Cruisers all over the place. (Not a dog will wag 


its tail without being reported.} So don't let us get a 
scare over 24,000 men coming unobserved. One lot of 
12,000 can be put in as the limit; but my suggestion is 
leave out numbers, and simply say as a precautionary 
measure for the confidence of the country, it's a good safe 
arbitrary standard to lay down that two Divisions of Reg- 
ular Troops are always to be left in the Country just in 
the same way as laid down at the Admiralty that the 
Home Fleet is not for Service abroad. 

Jan. 26th. 

. . . The Admiralty hear (by wireless every moment) 
what all the Admirals and Captains are saying to each 
other anywhere in Europe and even over to the coasts of 


March 15th. 

Private & Secret & Personal. I have just finished in 
these early hours a careful re-study of your paper E. 5 
(which I love) and the criticisms thereon by French and 
the General Staff. I dismiss French's criticism as being 
that of a pure correct Cavalry expert and not dealing with 
the big questions. The General Staff criticism is on the 
other hand the thin end of the insidious wedge of our 
taking part in Continental War as apart absolutely from 
Coastal Military Expeditions in pure concert with the 
Navy expeditions involving hell to the enemy because 
backed by an invincible Navy (the citadel of the Military 
force). I don't desire to mention these expeditions and 
never will, as our military organization is so damnably 
leaky! but it so happens for two solid hours this morning 
I have been studying one of these of inestimable value 
only involving 5,000 men, and some guns, and horses about 
500 a mere fleabite! but a collection of these fleabites 
would make Wilhelm scratch himself with fury! How- 
ever, the point of my letter is this Ain't we d d fools 
to go on wasting our very precious moments in these 


abstruse disquisitions on this line and that or the passage 
of the Dutch German Frontier River and whether the 
bloody fight is to be at Rheims or Amiens, until the Cabi- 
net have decided the great big question raised in your E. 5 : 
Are we or are we not going to send a British Army to 
fight on the Continent as quite distinct and apart from 
Coastal Raids and seizures of Islands, etcetera, which the 
Navy dominate? Had not the Prime Minister better get 
this fixed up before we have any more discussions such as 
foreshadowed to-morrow? 

March 21st. 

... It won't do to resign on a hypothesis but on a 
fact ! All is in train for the 8 Dreadnoughts ! and as Grey 
says when the day is reached to sign the contracts and 
then a veto then is the day to go in a great company and 
not one alone! ... I am vehemently urged to squash my 
"malignant stabbers-in-the-back" by making a speech 
somewhere and saying as follows but I won't it would 
be an effectual cold douche to the 8 Dreadnoughts a year ! 
I might say: 

"The unswerving intention of 4 years has now cul- 
minated in two complete Fleets in Home Waters, each 
of which is incomparably superior to the whole German 
Fleet mobilised for war. Don't take my word! Count 
them, see them for yourselves! You will see them next 
June. This can't alter for years, even were we supinely 
passive in our building; but it won't alter because we will 
have 8 Dreadnoughts a year. So sleep quiet in your 

And I might also add: 

"The Germans are not building in this feverish haste 
to fight you! No! it's the daily dread they have of a 
second Copenhagen, which they know a Pitt or a Bis- 
marck would execute on them! 

"Cease building or I strike!" 



March SOth. 

. . . Grey rubbed in two great points yesterday: 
(i) Lack of information as to German acceleration 
will be acted on as if acceleration were a fact, 
(ii) The 8 this year won't affect next year. 


June 1 5th. 

. . . Yes, we made a good job of Saturday; but the 
two most noticeable things of all were never noticed: 

(i) The swarm of Destroyers going 20 knots past the 
Dreadnought found themselves suddenly confronted by 
a lot of passenger steamers and yachts, which at the last 
moment got right in their way the accidents might have 
been intense but the young Destroyer commanders kept 
their nerve and their speed and scootled through the eye 
of the needle just grazing them all. It was splendid to 
see and made my heart warm! (N.B. A Press delegate 
the Toronto Globe, I think, seized me by the arm and 
said, "Sir, I see the glint of battle in your eye!") 

(ii) I saw the Speaker of the House of Commons 
being bundled into a "char-a-banc" holding 24 other pro- 
miscuous persons by a bluejacket. Truly a democratic 
sight ! 


July Srd. 

. . . The latest development is that somebody has a 
pile of my private letters to various people not printed 
or typewritten but the original letters, so he says, which 
he is going to produce unless I agree to resign in October! 
Some of the letters stolen and some given (so I am told!) . 
However "hot" they may be I don't regret a word I ever 
wrote, and I believe my countrymen will forgive me. 
Anyhow I won't be blackmailed! There was murder in 
the King's eye when I told him (but I didn't tell him all!) 
... 7 am going to fight to the finish! Heaven bless you 
for your help. 



August 3rd. 

. . . The Mouse was able to help the Lion yesterday 
as the King got on to you in regard to vile attempts of 
jealousy as to your being on the Defence Committee. The 
King is certainly A 1 in sticking to his friends! but you 
have always said this yourself to me when I have been 
down on my luck! All has gone most splendidly in all 
ways and the King is enormously gratified at the mag- 
nificent show of the Fleet to put before the Emperor of 
Russia. I told the Emperor it was a fine avenue! 18 
miles of ships the most powerful in the world and none 
of them more than 10 years old! 

August 27th. 

[A letter on the Beresford Report speaks of two "base 
innuendoes," of which the second is] 

(ii) The "suggestio falsi" that the Admiralty had been 
wanting in Strategical Thought whereas we had effected 
the immense advance of establishing the Naval War Col- 
lege and gave evidence of practical strategy in effecting 
the concentration qf our Fleets instead of the previous 
state of dispersion. No such redistribution of strategical 
force since the days of Noah! 

But worse still Not one word of commendation for 
the Admiralty for its unparalleled work in gaining fight- 
ing efficiency and instant readiness for war by the insti- 
tution of the Nucleus Crew system the introduction of 
Battle practice the unexampled advance in Gunnery 
(the "Invincible" with her 12-inch guns hitting the target 
l/14th her own size 15 times out of 18 at 5 miles, she her- 
self going 20 knots and the target also moving at an un- 
known speed and unknown course) and getting rid of 
160 vessels that could neither fight nor run away Not 
one word of appreciation of all this by the Committee! 
and yet they had the practical result before them in the 
manoBuvres of 374 vessels manoeuvring in fogs and shoals 
without a single mishap or a single defect and 96 Sub- 
marines and Torpedo Craft on the East Coast making In- 


vasion ridiculous! No it has been a bitter disappoint- 
ment more bitter because each of the five members of 
the Committee so expressive to me and to others of the 
complete victory of the Admiralty. Cowards all! It is 
the one redeeming feature that The Times came down de- 
cidedly on the right side of the fence! the one and only 
paper that got at the kernel of the matter. Discipline! 
where art thou now after this Report? 

Sept. IStk. 

. . . What pleases me most is the King having sent 
for you, and your 1% hours' breakfast and afterwards 

driving with him, because as no doubt you know, 

(and some others) started a propaganda against you 
which fell absolutely flat and it's a rattling good thing 
the King making much of you in this way as it gets about 
and without any question the King now largely moulds 
the public will! As to your letter in regard to myself, it 
of course gives me great joy that the King gives me his 
blessing and also dear Knollys's wonderful fidelity to me 
is a miracle! (I always think of an incident long ago 
when he calmly ignored a furious effusion of mine to the 
King and put the letter in the fire without saying a word 
to me till long afterwards! I all the time joyful think- 
ing I had done splendidly!) 

[After a forecast of a coming change in the Govern- 
ment the letter goes on] 

You will at once say: What is the First Sea Lord 
going to do? Answer Nothing! It is the ONLY course 
to follow! I have thought it all out most carefully and 
decided to keep absolutely dumb. When a new Admiralty 
patent appears in the London Gazette without my name 
in it, I pack up and walk out and settle down in the Tyrol. 
Temperature 70 in the shade and figs ten a penny and 
wear out all my white tunics and white trowsers! Mc- 
Kenna, to whom I am absolutely devoted, may force my 


hand to help him. In view of all he has risked for me 
(he was practically out of the Cabinet for 24 hours at one 
time! This is a fact) I am ready to go to the stake for 
him; but if he is well advised he also will be dumb. . . . 
I am so surprised how utterly both the Cabinet and the 
Press have failed to see the "inwardness" of the new "Pa- 
cific Fleet"! I had a few momentous words in private 
with Sir Joseph Ward (the Prime Minister of New Zea- 
land). He saw it! It means eventually Canada, Aus- 
tralia, New Zealand, the Cape (that is South Africa) and 
India running a complete Navy! We manage the job in 
Europe. They'll manage the job ... as occasion re- 
quires out there! The very wonderful thing is that only 
dear old Lord Kelvin and the First Sea Lord at the first 
wanted the Battle Cruiser type alone and not "Dread- 
noughts"; but we had a compromise, as you know, and 
got 3 Indomitdbles with the Dreadnoughts; and all the 
world now has got "Indomitables" on the brain! Hip! 
Hip! Hurrah! 


Dec. 25th. 

. . . Wilson and I have talked a lot about our War 
plan for the Navy. You know he told the Defence Com- 
mittee that only he and I knew of the War Plan, which 
is quite true and it was the same when his fleet was joined 
with mine when South African War was in progress. He 
would sooner die than disclose it. (God bless Sir Arthur 


Jan 23rd. 

Of course no question as to strategic merits of a Canal, 
and it ought originally to have been the scheme instead 
of Rosyth, but now is it possible to make the volte-face? 
I fear not! I got Rosyth delayed 4 years as NOT being the 
right thing or the right place and hoping for our Kiel 
Canal; but though I succeeded in the delay, alas! I did 
not in the substitution. However, I will see Hankey as 


you suggest. Yes, I'm quite happy, and my cry is NOT 
"a Berlin!" . . . I've got some war charts that would 
make your mouth water ! 

[Sir John Fisher left the Admiralty on his birthday, 
Jan. 25th, 1910, and was raised to the Peerage.] 


February 2nd. THETFORD. 

. . . I've just got here from Cheshire, where for days 
running I've had Paradise. 3 lovely girls in the house, a 
splendid ball room and music always on hand! 3 young 
Guardsmen there, but I held my own! 

Dancing till 4 a.m. took it out of me a bit, but it re- 
vivified me and I renewed my strength like the Eagle! 
... I hope the King talked politics with McKenna, who 
is very acute and would sacrifice himself for the King. 
Didn't you think McKenna excellent, the night he dined 
with me, as to the course the King should pursue? You 
see he knows so exactly how the Cabinet will be actu- 
ated. . . . 

There are great risks. Both political sides unscrupu- 
lous. . . . 

P.S. Wasn't it the Emperor Diocletian who doffed 
the Imperial Purple to plant cabbages? and d d fine 
cabbages, no doubt! So don't blackguard me for leaving 
the Admiralty of my own free will, to plant roses! 


Feb. 18th. 

. . . Things look ugly. . . . However, I'm a pure 
outsider! There will be desperate efforts to supplant 
Wilson, so I hear from trustworthy quarters. But Mc- 
Kenna will be the real loss to the Navy. The sacred fire 
of efficiency burns brightly in him ! and he's a born fighter 
and a good hater, which I love (as Dr. Johnson did) with 
all my heart. You really must come here when the weather 
is nicer it's lovely! I've never known till now what joy 
there is in Nature. Even beauteous woman fades in the 


comparison! I've just seen the wild swans flying over 
the Lake! "The world forgetting By the world for- 
got!" is appropriate to me now! . . . I've just thought 
of a lovely Preamble for my approaching "Midshipman's 
Vade-Mecum" ... I rather think it's Blackie, though 
perhaps not his words: 

"Four Things for a Big Life 

I. A great Inspiration 
II. A great Cause 
III. A great Battle 
IV. A great Victory 

Having got those 4 things then you can preach the 
Gospel of Rest and Build an Altar to Repose." 

March 14,th. 

... I lunched with Asquith, he was more than cor- 
dial! How funny it is that I did infinitely more for the 
Conservatives than for the Radicals, and yet the Radicals 
have given me all I have got and the Conservatives have 
only given me abuse and calumny ! 

The Radicals gave me my Pension and a Peerage, and 
yet I increased the Radical estimates nearly ten millions! 
I decreased the estimates 9 millions and reduced pros- 
pective charges by nineteen millions sterling for the Con- 
servatives, and they never lifted even a little finger to help 
me, but on the contrary have heaped dunghill abuse on me ! 
How do you explain this? 

McKenna, whose life has been a burden on my ac- 
count, gives me a thing that would do for an Ascot Gold 
Cup with the inscription I enclose luckily it's in Latin 
or I dare not let it be seen! (The Craven Scholar writes 
to me it's the best Latin he ever read in his life!) I 
wouldn't write all this to anyone else, but is it not all of it 
phenomenally curious? Well, longo intervallo I took your 
advice and seized an opportunity which called for my com- 
municating with Winston, and he sent me by return of 
post a most affectionate letter and says I am the one man 


in the world he really loves! (Well! I really love him 
because he's a great Fighter.) What a joke if you, I 
and George Clarke were put on to reform the House of 
Lords ! 


March 24>th. 

I sent you a telegram from Ely on my way down (I 
caught my train by % a minute!) as my cogitations im- 
pelled me to suggest to you that Asquith obviously does 

not see the fallacy of 's reasoning, which as you very 

acutely observed would kill the Defence Committee as a 
whole in its guiding, but not its administrative or execu- 
tive power, which are non-existent and inimical to its ex- 
istence. But its "guiding" power is England's all-in-all, 
if only its sufficiency and efficiency could be digested. 

I had an immense talk with McKenna. . . . He was 
"dead on" for your Committee. Of course the Ideal was 
your being President, but I suppose the "Shifting Man" 
as President, according to the subject and the Depart- 
ment concerned, has its merits and advantages. 


April 8th. 

Old Stead's letter in Standard on 2 keels to 1 is un- 
surpassable! It ought to be circulated in millions as a 
leafletl . . . What d d fools the Tories are not to swal- 
low it whole the 2 keels to 1 ! ... I told "the Islanders" 
secretly I could do more as the "mole," so not to put my 
name down (The Mole is my metier! only to be traced 
by upheavals!) Get Stead's letter sent all over the Na- 
tion as a leaflet. 

I am to meet you on April 19th, Suez Canal. 

I don't know Wilson's views. These are mine: 

General principle: The Admiralty should never en- 
gage itself to lock up a single vessel even not even a 
torpedo-boat, or submarine anywhere on any considera- 
tion whatever. The. whole principle of Sea fighting is to 
be free to go anywhere with every d d thing the Navy 


possesses. The Admiralty should engage to do their best 
but to reserve entire freedom of action. The responsibil- 
ity of the Suez Canal therefore cannot be theirs. If this 
clashes with your views you had better cancel me on Com- 
mittee, for I'll fight like Hell for the above vital War 
Principle ! 

April 25th. 

I congratulate you on the latest by "Historicus" ; but 
do you sufficiently intensify the intolerable tyranny of 
the permanent Tory majority in the Lords that has meant 
a real single chamber government for so many years? 
The Radicals are on the win and no one can stop it. We 
exaggerate the consequences. The silly thing is to have 
a General Election. Who gains? Everybody loses ! Cer- 
tainly the Tories won't win. Tariff Reform dead. Win- 
ston's last speeches have been very high class, especially 
where he shows how far greater issues are settled by the 
Government than anything appertaining to legislation 
without the House of Lords having a voice and we have 
always taken those risks in the past without a thought! 

What is this about Kitchener hoisting out French as 
Inspector General? Anything to get Kitchener out of 
England ! 

[King Edward VII. died on May 6th, 1910.] 


What an inexpressible sorrow!! How we both know 
the loss! What a great National Calamity! And per- 
sonally what can I say? What a splendid and steadfast 
friend! No use saying any more to each other is it? I 
really feel heart broken! 



... I really can't get over the irreparable loss. I 
think of nothing else! Tseves gave me a wonderful ac- 


count of the King's last day. I rather think the King was 
coming to see me here, had he remained at Sandringham. 
The Queen [Queen Alexandra] has been very sweet to 
me. She stopped to notice me going up the steps of St. 
George's Chapel and so did her Sister [the Empress 
Marie]. I appreciated it very much but most of all my 
interview with her. . . . She told me she would come here 
to see me and how the King had told her about me being 
disappointed at her not having been to Kilverstone before, 
You'll think me morbid writing like this. 

I dined with Asquith, McKenna and George Murray 
last week in London. If the Tories weren't such d d 
stupid idiots I should rejoice at things being certain to go 
well. . . . My day is past. I have no illusions. You 
will enjoy the roses I've planted when you come here. 
How one's life does change! 


May 27th. 

. . . The Commonwealth Government [of Australia] 
have just sent a confidential telegram to Sir George Reid 
to ask me to go as their Guest to advise on the Navy. 
I've declined. I'd go as Dictator but not as Adviser. 
Also they have commenced all wrong and it would in- 
volve me in a campaign I intend to keep clear of with the 
soldiers. By the wording of the telegram I expect fur- 
ther pressure. Besides, what a d d fine thing to get me 
planted in the Antipodes! [Kitchener and the Aus- 
tralians, in drawing up their scheme of defence, forgot 
that Australia was an island. So do we here in England.] 


June 7th. 

... I can't shake off my sense of loss in the King's 
death. Though personally it practically makes no differ- 
ence of course yet I feel so curious a sense of isolation 
which I can't get over and no longer seem to care a 
d n for anything! . . . 

As you told me, it was miraculous I left the Admiralty 


when I did! It was the nick of time! A. K. Wilson is 
doing splendidly and is unassailable. I had much pres- 
sure to emerge the other day, but I won't, nor have I the 
heart now. 


August 5th. KlLVERSTONE HALL. 

McKenna has just been here on his second visit (so 
he liked the first, I suppose! I mention this as an in- 
ducement to you to come!) He has shewn me various 
secret papers. He is a real fighter, and the Navy Haters 
will pass over his dead body ! If our late Blessed Master 
was alive I should know what to do; but I feel my hands 
tied now. Perhaps a kindly Providence put us both on 
the Beach at the right moment! Who knows? 

"The lights begin to twinkle on the rocks 3 '! I've told 
and others that the 2 keels to 1 policy is of inesti- 
mable value because it eliminates the United States Navy, 
which never ought to be mentioned criminal folly to do 
so Also it gives us such an ample margin as to allow for 
discount ! 

The insidious game is to have an enquiry into Ship 
Designs, which means delay and no money! 

Two immense episodes are doing Damocles over the 
Navy just now. I had settled to shove my colleagues over 
the precipice about both of them, but as you know I left 
hurriedly to get in Wilson so incomparably good! We 
pushed them over the precipice about Water Tube Boilers, 
the Turbine, the Dreadnought, the Scrapping [of ships 
that could neither fight nor run away], the Nucleus Crews 
the Redistribution of the Fleet, &c., &c. In each and 
all it was Athanasius contra mundum, but each and all a 
magnificent success; so also these two waiting portents 
full of immense developments. 

1. Oil Engines and internal combustion, about which 
I so dilated at our dinner and bored you. Since that 
night (July llth) Bloom & Voss in Germany have re- 
ceived an order to build a Motor Liner for the Atlantic 
Trade. No engineers, no stokers, and no funnels, no boil- 


ers! Only a d d chauffeur! The economy prodigious! 
as the Germans say "Kolossal billig"! But what will it be 
for War? Why! all the past pales before the prospect!!! 
I say to McKenna: "Shove 'em over the precipice! 
Shove!" But he's all alone, poor devil! 

The Second is that this Democratic Country won't 
stand 99 per cent, at least of her Naval Officers being 
drawn from the "Upper Ten." It's amazing to me that 
anyone should persuade himself that an aristocratic Serv- 
ice can be maintained in a Democratic State. The true 
democratic principle is Napoleon's: ff La carrier e ouverte 
aux talents!" The Democracy will shortly realise this, 
and there will be a dangerous and mischievous agitation. 
The secret of successful administration is the intelligent 
anticipation of agitation. Again I say to McKenna 
"Shove!!! Shove them over the precipice" I have the 
plan all cut and dried. 

The pressure won't come from inside the Navy but 
from outside an avalanche like A.D. 1788 (the French 
Revolution) and will sweep away a lot more than de- 
sirable! It is essentially a political question rather than 
a Naval question proper. It is all so easy, only the d d 
Tory prejudices stand in the way! But I gave you a 
paper about all this printed at Portsmouth, so won't bore 
you with more. I am greatly inclined to leave the De- 
fence Committee and move out in the open on these two 
vital questions on the Navy. The one affects its fighting 
efficiency as much as the other. I am doing the mole, and 
certain upheavals will appear shortly, but it wants a 
Leader in the open! 


May lit. 

... I want you to think over getting the Prime Min- 
ister to originate an enquiry for a great British Govern- 
mental Wireless Monopoly, or rather I would say "Eng- 
lish Speaking" Monopoly! No one at the Admiralty or 
elsewhere has as yet any the least idea of the immense 
revolution both for Peace and War purposes which will 


be brought about by the future development of wireless! 
. . . The point is that this scheme wants to be engineered 
by the Biggest Boss, i.e., the Prime Minister. . . . Be- 
lieve vne, the wireless in the future is the soul and spirit 
of Peace and War, and therefore must be in the hands 
of the Committee of Defence! You can't cut the air! 
You can cut a telegraph cable 1 


June 25th. BAD NAUHEIM. 

. . . You will see in the Standard of May 29th the 
London Correspondent of the Irish Times lets out about 
Lord Fisher and war arrangements, but as the Standard 
in the very same issue makes this announcement in big 
type: "We (Great Britain) are in the satisfactory posi- 
tion of having twice as many Dreadnoughts in commission 
as Germany and a number greater by one unit than the 
whole of the rest of the world put together!" I don't 
think there is the very faintest fear of war! How won- 
derfully Providence guides England! Just when there 
is a quite natural tendency to ease down our Naval en- 
deavours comes AGADIE ! 

"Time and the Ocean and some Guilding Star 
In High Cabal have made us what we are!" 

"The Greatest Power on 'Airth,' " as Mr. Champ 
Clarke would say! (You ought to meet Champ Clarke.) 
He is likely to succeed Taft as President, but I put my 
money on Woodrow Wilson. He is Bismarck and Moltke 
rolled into one! ... I need not say that I remain in 
the closest toonds with the Admiralty. I never did a wiser 
thing than coming abroad and remaining abroad and 
working like a mole. I shall not return till July, 1912. 
Most damnable efforts against me continue in full swing: 
nevertheless like Gideon "Faint yet pursuing" is my 
motto. . . . And yet because in 1909 at the Guildhall 
when our Naval supremacy had been arranged for in the 
Navy Estimates of the year I said to my countrymen 
"Sleep quiet in your beds!" I was vehemently vilified 


with malignant truculence, and only yesterday I got a 
letter from an Aristocrat of the Aristocrats, saying he had 
heard it stated by a Man of Eminence the day before that 
I was in the pay of Germany! It is curious that I can't 
get over the personal great blank I feel in the death of 
our late blessed Friend King Edward ! There was some- 
thing in the charm of his heart that still chains one to his 
memory some magnetic touch! 


Sept. ZQth. LUCERNE. 

Through dancing with a sweet American (and indeed 
they are truly delightful, especially if you have the same 
partner all the evening!) I hear via a Bremen multi- 
millionaire that though the most optimistic official assur- 
ances of peace emanate from Berlin yet there is the most 
extreme nervousness amongst the German business men 
because of the revelation to them of the French power both 
financially and fightingly, so unexpected by them. I sup- 
pose if a Pitt or a Palmerston had now been guiding our 
destinies we should have war. They would say any Peace 
would be a bad Peace because of the latent damnable 
feeling in Germany against England. It won't be France 
any more, it will be England that will be the red rag for 
the German Bull! And as we never were so strong as 
at present, then Pitt & Co. would say the present is the 
time to fight. Personally I am confident of Peace. I 
happen to know in a curious way (but quite certainly) 
that the Germans are in a blue funk of the British Navy 
and are quite assured that 942 German merchant steamers 
would be "gobbled up" in the first 48 hours of war, and 
also the d -d uncertainty of when and where a hundred 
thousand troops embarked in transports and kept "in the 
air" might land! N.B. There's a lovely spot only 90 
miles from Berlin ! Anyhow they would demobilise about 
a million German soldiers! But I am getting "off the 
line" now! I really sat down to write and tell you of a 
two days' visit paid to me here by the new American Am- 
bassador to Berlin. He is a faithful friend. He is very, 


very pno-English (he has such a lovely daughter whom I 
have been dancing with, A PERFECT GEM ! if she don't turn 
Wilhelm's head I'll eat my hat!). My friend was Amer- 
ican Ambassador at Constantinople when I was Com- 
mander-in- Chief of the Mediterranean Fleet you know 
it was a ticklish time then, at the worst of the Boer War 
and the British Navy kept the Peace! That old Sultan 
[Abdul Hamid] told me so, and gave me a 500-guinea 
diamond star, bless him! and he called Lord Salisbury a 
d d fool for having left him in the lurch and for having 
said that "England had put her money on the wrong 
horse" in backing Turkey. The Turks being the one peo- 
ple in the whole world to be England's fast (and if put 
to it) only friend! Well, my dear Friend! Leishman saw 
this then in 1899, and sees it now, and hence we were 
locked up for hours in a secret room here! It all bears 
immensely on the present Franco-German Crisis! That 
"greater-than-Bismarck" who is now German Ambassa- 
dor at Constantinople (Marschall von Bieberstein), and 
who is the real director of German policy (Waechter is 
only his factotum! as I will prove to you presently!) sees 
his rear and flanks quite safe by having the Turks in the 
palm of his hand (as Leishman describes it!) and so has 
been led to bluff at Agadir but those choice words of 
Lloyd George upset the German apple-cart in a way it 
was never upset before! (I suppose they were "written 
out" words and Cabinet words, and they were d d fine 
words!) Before I go on with the next bit of my letter 
I must explain to you that Leishman is a very great friend 
and admirer of Marschall von Bieberstein and also of 
Kiderlen- Waechter, the present German Foreign Min- 
ister. When Marschall went on his annual 4 months' 
leave from Constantinople he always had Waechter to 
take his place while away, who was then the German Min- 
ister at Bucharest! Leishman is also an ardent admirer 
of the German Emperor, and he is also the most intimate 
friend possessed by Mr. Philander Knox, the American 
Secretary of State, who has forced Leishman to Berlin 
when he was in Paradise at Rome (at all events his fam- 


ily were I) Well! dear Friend, it's a good thing that 
Leishman loves England. I couldn't possibly write to 
Sir E. Grey what I am writing to you (I shouldn't write 
to you except that this letter goes through France only!) 
and it would be simply fatal to Leishman if it ever leaked 
out about his conversations with me, but his heart is with 
us. I knew this when I spent many weeks at Constanti- 
nople (and we had no friends then, 1899 and 1900!) He 
says our Turkish policy is the laughing stock of Diplo- 
macy! "Every schoolboy knows" that we have a Ma- 
homedan Existence and the Turks love us, but all we do 
is to kick their ! As Leishman truly says, the Ger- 
mans were in the dust by the deposition of Abdul Hamid 
and England was "all" to the New Turks, but slowly 
Marschall has worked his way up again, and the Ger- 
mans again possess the Turks, instead of England. The 
Turkish Army, the very finest fighting army in the world, 
was ours for the asking, and "Peace perfect Peace" in 
India, Egypt and Persia; but we've chucked it all away 
because we have had d d fools as our Ambassadors ! But 
how can it be otherwise unless you put in men from out- 
side, like, for instance, Bryce at Washington? Our 
strength is Mahomedan, but we are too d d Christian 
to see it! and fool about Armenian atrocities and Bul- 
garian horrors! Tories and Radicals are both the same. 
Isn't it wonderful how we get along! I repeat again to 
you my copyright lines: 

"Time and the Ocean and some Guiding Star 
In High Cabal have made us what we are!" 

Look at Delagoa Bay, that might have been ours 
indeed was ours only we "fooled" it away! Look at Lord 
Granville and the Cameroons! Well! I haven't given 
Leishman away, I don't think! The real German bonne 
bouche was the complete belt across Africa, but this only 
if the right of pre-emption as regards the Belgian Congo 
could have been acquired. I simply tremble at the con- 
sequences if the British Redcoats are to be planted on 


the Vosges Frontier [meaning the dread of Conscription 
and a huge Army for Continental Warfare]. 


October 10th. LUCERNE. 

... I yesterday had a long letter from McKenna 
begging me to return and "put the gloves on again," and 
in view of his arguments I am going to do so when A. K. 
Wilson vanishes early next year! It is, however, dis- 
tasteful to me. I've had a lovely time here. 



... I am here 3 days with Winston and many of the 
Cabinet. I got a very urgent letter to come here, and I 
think my advice has been fully and completely digested, 
but don't say a word, please, to a soul! I am returning 
direct to Lucerne on Wednesday, after Tuesday at Kil- 


November Qth. LUCERNE. 

These are very ticklish times indeed! I have got to 
be extremely careful. I must not get between Winston 
and A. K. W. in any way it would not only be very 
wrong but fatal to any smooth working. So I begged 
Winston not to write to me. With extreme reluctance 
I went to Reigate as I did, but McKenna urged me on 
the grounds of the good of the Navy, and from what 
Winston has since said to a friend of mine I think I did 
right in going. 


December. LUCERNE. 

... I shouldn't have written again so soon except for 
just now seeing in a Paris paper that Sir John French, 
accompanied by four Officers, had landed at Calais en 
route to the French Head Quarters, and expatiating on 


the evident intention of joint military action! Do you 
remember the classic interview we had with the late King 
in his Cabin? If this is on the tapis again then we have 
another deep regret for the loss of that sagacious intuition ! 
King Edward may not have been clever, but he never 
failed in his judgment on whose opinion to rely. . . . Of 
course there may be nothing in it! Nor do I think there 
is the least likelihood of war. ENGLAND is FAB TOO 
STRONG! Yet I daily get letters anticipating my early 
return. . . . 

I enclose you a letter from , received a little time 

ago. He is a very eminent Civil Engineer. There is a 
"dead set" being made to get the Midshipmen under the 

new scheme to rebel against "engineering"! , & 

Co. are persistently at it through their friends in the Fleet, 
and calling those Midshipmen who go in for engineering 
"Greasers." The inevitable result of the present young 
officers of the Navy disparaging and slighting this chief 
necessary qualification of engineering in these engineer- 
ing days will be to force the throwing open of entry as 
officers in the Navy to all classes of the population and 
adopting State paid Education and support till the pay 
is sufficient to support! 


December 24-th. 

... I have had a hectic time with four hurricanes 
crossing the Channel and balancing on the tight-rope with 
one end held by Winston and the other by McKenna, but 
they both held tight and I am all right. Without doubt 
McKenna is a patriot to have encouraged ME to help 
Winston as he has done ! I have not heard what the War 
Staff is doing. It does not trouble me. My sole object 
was to ensure Jellicoe being Commander-in-Chief of the 
Home Fleet on December 19th, 1913, and that is being 
done by his being appointed Second-in-Command of the 
Home Fleet, and he will automatically be C.-in-C. in two 
years from that date. All the recent changes revolved 
round Jellicoe, and No ONE sees it! 



Jan 3rd. NAPLES. 

... I fully agree with you about the Navy want of 
first-class Intellects. Concentration and Discipline com- 
bine to cramp the Sea Officer. . . . Great views don't 
get grasped. Winston urges me to come back, but he for- 
gets the greatest of all the great Napoleonic sayings: 
"J'ordonne, ou je me teds! 3 Besides, you see, I was the 
First Violin. However, Winston is splendidly receptive. 
I can't possibly write what has happened, but he is a brave 
man. And as 16 Admirals have been scrapped I am more 
popular than ever!!! A lovely woman two days ago sent 
me this riddle: "Why are you like Holland?" "Because 
you lie low and are dammed all round." But there it is. 
Jellicoe will be Admiralissimo when Armageddon comes 
along, and everything that was done revolved round that, 
and no one has seen it. He has all the attributes of Nel- 
son, and his age. 


March 7tk. NAPLES. 

You nearly saw me to-day, as a King's Messenger 
roused me out the day before yesterday with papers I 
really thought I could not cope with by letter; but as 
obviously the object was to avoid the gossip my appear- 
ance in London would cause I did my best with my pen. 
But I see clearly I am in the middle of the whirlpool 
again and must force what I feel a great disinclination for 
and participate once more in the fight. I have had 
strangely intimate opportunities of learning the very in- 
side of German feeling towards England. It is bitterly 
intense and widespread. Without any doubt whatever the 
Germans thought they were going to squeeze France out 
of Morocco. You can take that as a fact, no matter what 
lies are told by the German Foreign Minister; and 
Clemenceau's unpublished speech would have proved it, 
but he said enough. And how treacherous to England 
was M. Caillaux. What a dirty business! Anyhow, as a 
German Admiral of high repute wrote confidentially and 


privately a few days since: "German public opinion is 
roused in a way I had not before thought possible." And 
as far as I can make out, the very worst possible thing 
was Haldane's visit a British Cabinet Minister crawling 
up the back stairs of the German Foreign Office in carpet 
slippers! and judging from all that is told me, it has made 
the Germans worse than ever, and for a variety of quite 
opposite reasons, all producing the same result. Any 
more Heligolands would mean certain war. It's very 
peculiar how we have left our impregnable position we 
occupied before Haldane's visit, to take up a most hu- 
miliating, weak and dangerous one. 


April 2nd. 

... As you say, Winston has done splendidly. He 
and I last November discussed every brick of his speech 
in Devonport Dockyard while visiting the 33-knot Lion- 
Dreadnought by night alone together, and don't accuse 
me of too much egotism, but he stopped dramatically on 
the Dockyard stones and said to me, "You're a Great 
Man!" . . . We are lagging behind in out-Dreadnought- 
ing the Dreadnought! A plunge of course a huge 
plunge but so was the Dreadnought so was the Tur- 
bine so was the water-tube boiler, and last of all so was 
the 13V2' mc h gun which now holds the field, and the whole 
Board of Admiralty (bar Jellicoe) and all the experts 
dead against it but we plunged ! So it is now we want 
more speed less armour a 15-inch gun more sub-divi- 
sion oil only and chauffeurs instead of Engineers and 
Stokers, and a Dreadnought that will go round the world 
without requiring to replenish fuel! The Non-Par eil! 
Winston says he'll call her the "Fisher!" I owe more 
than I can say to McKenna. I owe nearly as much to 
Winston for scrapping a dozen Admirals on December 
5th last so as to get Jellicoe 2nd in Command of the Home 
Fleet. If war comes before 1914, then Jellicoe will be 
Nelson at the Battle of St. Vincent: if it comes in 1914 
then he'll be Nelson at Trafalgar ! . . . 


Again, I've had quite affectionate letters from three 
important Admirals. Why should I come home and filch 
their credit? All this is to explain to you why I keep 
abroad, as you ask me what are my future plans. Your 
letter in The Times on the German Book quite excellent. 
Bernstorff's book is even more popular in Germany: "The 
War Between England and Germany" with the picture 
of the "Dreadnought" with all her guns trained for ac- 
tion! Every little petty German newspaper is dead-on 
for war with England ! that I can assure you of! So any- 
thing would kindle a war! . . . The banner unfurled on 
October 21st, 1904, by the d d scoundrel who on that 
day became First Sea Lord had inscribed on it: 

"The fighting efficiency of the Fleet" 

"Its instant readiness for War" 

and, as Winston bravely said, that is now the case and 
no credit to himself, but he ought to have gone further 
back than McKenna for the credit. It was Balfour! He 
saw me through no one else would allow 160 ships to be 
scrapped, &c., &c., &c. But you've had enough! 


April 25th. 

. . . When I was a Delegate at the Hague Conference 
of 1899 the first Conference I had very animated con- 
versations, which, however, to my lasting regret it was 
deemed inexpedient to place on record (on account of 
their violence, I believe!), regarding "Trading with the 
Enemy." I stated the primordial fact that "The Essence 
of War is Violence; Moderation in War is Imbecility" 
And then in my remarks I went on to observe, as is stated 
by Mr. Norman Angell in the "Great Illusion," where 
he holds me up as a Terror! and as misguided perhaps 
I went a little too far when I said I would boil the pris- 
oners in oil and murder the innocent in cold blood, &c., 
&c., &c. . . . but it's quite silly not to make War damn- 
able to the whole mass of your enemy's population, which 


of course is the secret of maintaining the right of Capture 
of Private Property at Sea. As you say, it must be pro- 
claimed in the most public and most authoritative man- 
ner that direct and indirect trade between Great Britain, 
including every part of the British Empire, and Germany 
must cease in time of war. . . . When war does come 
"Might is Right!" and the Admiralty will know what to 
do! Nevertheless, it is a most serious drawback not mak- 
ing public to the world beforehand what we mean by 
War! It is astounding how even very great men don't 
understand War! You must go to the Foreigner to ap- 
preciate our Surpassing Predominance as a Nation. I 
was closeted for two hours lately in a locked room with 
a great Foreign Ambassador, who quoted great names to 
me as being in agreement with him that never in the 
History of the World was the British Nation (as at the 
present moment) surpassed in power! And therefore we 
could do what we liked! ... I fully agree with you that 
the schemes of the General Staff of the British Army are 
grotesque. Their projects last August, had we gone to 
war, were wild in the extreme. You will remember a 
famous interview we two had with King Edward in his 
Cabin on board the Royal Yacht how he stamped on 
the idea (that then enthused the War Office mind) of 
England once more engaged in a great Continental War! 
"Marlboroughs Cheap To-day !" was the kettle of fish ad- 
vertised by the Militarists! 

I walked the sands of Scheveningen with General 
Gross von Schwartzhoff in June, 1899. The German 
Emperor said he (Schwartzhoff) was a greater than 
Moltke. He was the Military German Delegate at the 
Hague Conference; he was designated as Chief of the 
General Staff at Berlin, but he was burnt to death in 
China instead. I had done him a very good turn indeed, 
so he opened his heart to me. There was no German 
Navy then. We were doing Fashoda; and he expatiated 
on the role of the British Army how the absolute su- 
premacy of the British Navy gave it such inordinate power 
far beyond its numerical strength, because 200,000 men 


embarked in transports, and God only knowing where 
they might be put ashore, was a weapon of enormous 
influence, and capable of deadly blows occupying per- 
haps Antwerp, Flushing, &c. (but, of course, he only was 
thinking of the Cotentin Peninsula), or landing 90 miles 
from Berlin on that 14 miles of sandy beach [in Pome- 
rania], impossible of defence against a battle fleet sweep- 
ing with devastating shells the flat country for miles, like 
a mower's scythe no fortifications able to withstand pro- 
jectiles of 1,450 Ib. 

Yes! you are so right! the average man is incapable 
of a wide survey! he looks through a pinhole and only 
sees just a little bit much magnified! Napoleon and 
Cromwell 1 Where are they? 


April ZQth. NAPLES. 

. . . You say to me "Come home!" you remind 
me of "personal influence/' I KNOW IT ! Three days ago 
I was invited to name one of three week-ends in June 
to meet two very great men at a country house no one 
else. Day before yesterday Winston Churchill asks me.' 
Hardly a week passes without such similar pressure from 
most influential quarters "Why don't I come home and 
smash and pulverise? 33 Of course, they one and all ex- 
aggerate that in ten minutes I could "sweep the board" 
and so on! I know exactly what I can do. I've been 
fighting 50 years ! But I don't want a personal victory! 

... I am going to take my body and what little money 
I have ... to the United States in the near future. It 
would be no use my coming home. The mischief is done! 
. . . From patriotic motives I've given Winston of my 
very best in the replies going to him this day from Brin- 
disi by King's Messenger, as regards designs and policy 
and fighting measures. 


May 15th. 

. . . Well! as you say, every blessed thing at Wey- 
mouth [the Fleet Inspection] absolutely dates from 1909, 


except the aviation, and even that I pressed to its present 
condition dead against great opposition, but I wrote so 
strongly that - - took the bit between his teeth on that 
subject! And you ask me the question, "How goes it for 
the future!" 

Well! Lloyd George is the real man, and so far judg- 
ing from his most intimate conversation with me, all is 
well! ... A propos of all this I've been specially invited 
to meet four people of importance at a week-end meeting 
no others. I was asked twice before and again now 
repeated; but I think it best to abstain. I think you will 
approve of my not going. I have declined to go with 
W. C. in the Admiralty Yacht. 


May IQth. NAPLES. 

I have a letter from W. C. this morning that he and 
the Prime Minister have decided to come direct here to 
Naples to spend a few days, and a telegram has just 
come saying they arrive on May 23rd .... I suppose 
the coming Supplementary Estimates and also types of 
new ships about which I am in deadly antagonism with 
every living soul at the Admiralty, and one of the conse- 
quences has been that a great Admiralty official has got 
the boot!!! So Winston is right when he writes to me 
this morning that in all vital points I have had my way! 
He adds: "The Future of the Navy rests in the hands of 
men in whom your confidence is as strong as mine . . . 
and no change of Government would carry with it any 
change of policy in this respect." 


June 80th. THETFORD. 

My plot is working exactly as forecast. By and by 
you'll say it's the best thing I ever did. The Prime Min- 
ister and Winston would not listen at Naples to my urgent 
cry "Increase your margin!" They have got to recruit 
without stint and build 8 "Mastodons" instead of 4. Wait 
and see! 

The recruiting HAS begun. The 8 will follow. 

We want 8 
We won't wait. 

No other course but that now in progress would have 
done it. I don't mind personal obloquy, but it's a bit hard 
to undergo my friends' doubts of me; but the clouds will 
roll by. . . . I've got all my "working bees" round me 
here of the Royal Commission [on Oil and the Internal 
Combustion engine]. We shall stagger humanity! 



. . . Really all my thoughts are with my Royal Com- 
mission. I expect you will see that the course of action 
will inevitably result in what I ventured to indicate if 
only the Admiralty will keep their backs to the wall of 
the irreducible margin required in Home Waters. The 

only pity was that dear old said we were sufficiently 

strong for two years or more, which of course is quite 
true, but his saying so may prevent Lloyd George being 
hustled (as he otherwise ivould have been). Luckily I 

prevented saying even more of our present great 

preponderance but let us hope "All's well that ends 
well." Ian Hamilton came in most effectively with his 
witnessing the armoured Cruiser "Suffolk" laden with a 
Battalion of the Malta Garrison being twice torpedoed 
by a submarine. 


July 15th. 

. . . This instant the news has come to me that there 
are 750 eligible and selected candidates for 60 vacancies 
for Boy- Artificers in the Navy at the approaching ex- 
amination! When I introduced this scheme 8 years ago 
every man's hand was against me, and the whole weight 
of Trades Unionism inside the House of Commons and 
out of it was organised against me. . . . We were domi- 
nated by the Engineers ! We had to accept Engine Room 


artificers for the Navy who had been brought up on mak- 
ing bicycles! Now, these boys are suckled on the marine 
engine ! and they have knocked out the old lot completely. 
Our very best Engine Room artificers now in the Navy 
are these boys! Not one of my colleagues or anyone else 
supported me! Do you wonder tJiat I don't care a d n 
what anyone says? The man you are going to see on 
Wednesday how has he recognised that we are at this 
moment stronger than the Triple Alliance? The leaders 
of both political parties how have they recognised that 
19 millions sterling of public money actually allocated 
was saved and the re-arrangement of British Sea Power 
so stealthily carried out that not a sign appeared of any 
remark by either our own or by any Foreign Diplomatists, 
until an obscure article in the Scientific American by Ad- 
miral Mahan stated that of a sudden he (Mahan) had 
discovered that 88 per cent, of the Sea Power of England 
was concentrated on Germany? But the most ludicrous 
thing of all is that up to this very moment no one has 
really recognised that the Dreadnought caused such a 
deepening and dredging of German harbours and their 
approaches, and a new Kiel Canal, as to cripple Germany 
up to A.D. 1915, and make their coasts accessible, which 
were previously denied to our ships because of their heavy 
draught for service in all the world! 


August 2nd. 

At the Defence Committee yesterday ... we had a 
regular set-to with Lloyd George (supported by Har- 
court and Morley chiefly) against the provision of defence 
for Cromarty as a shelter anchorage for the Fleet, and 
the Prime Minister adjourned the discussion to the Cabi- 
net as the temperature got hot! As you know, I've al- 
ways been "dead on" for Cromarty and hated Rosyth, 
which is an unsafe anchorage the whole Fleet in jeop- 
ardy the other day and there's that beastly bridge which, 
if blown up, makes the egress very risky without examina- 
tion. . . . Also Cromarty is strategically better than 


Rosyth. . . . Also Lloyd George had a row about the 
airships Seely's Sub-Committee. We must have air- 


August fib. 

I still hate Rosyth and fortifications and East Coast 
Docks and said so the other day! but what we devise at 
Cromarty is for another purpose to fend off German 
Cruisers possibly by an accident of fog or stupidity get- 
ting loose on our small craft taking their ease or re-fuel- 
ling in Cromarty (Oil will change all this in time, but as 
yet we have for years coal-fed vessels to deal with). . . . 
I've got enthusiastic colleagues on the oil business! 
They're all bitten! Internal Combustion Engine Rabies! 



. . . What an ass I was to come home ! but it was next 
door to impossible to resist the pressure put on me, and 
then can you think it was wise of me to plunge once more 
into so vast a business as future motor Battleships? 
Changing the face of the Navy, and, as Lloyd George 
said to me last Friday, getting the Coal of England as 
my mortal enemy! 


Sept. 14th. 

This Royal Commission [on oil] is a wonder! We 
have our first meeting on September 24th, and practically 
it is finished though it will go on for years and years and 
never submit a Report ! You will love the modiis operandi 
when some day I expound it to you! ... In the second 
week of December we have an illustration on the scale of 
12 inches to a foot of producing oil from coal. Twenty- 
five tons a day will be produced as an example. All that 
is required is to treble the retorting plant of all gas works 
in the United Kingdom where there is a Mayor and Cor- 
poration, and to treble their "through put" of coal! We 


get two million tons of oil that way! We only want one 

I addressed the Directors of the S.E. & Chatham Rail- 
way last Tuesday, and hope I persuaded them to build 
a motor vessel of 24 knots between Calais and Dover, and 
proved to them they could save an hour between Paris 
and London the whole side of the vessel falls down and 
makes a gangway on to a huge pontoon at Calais and 
Dover and all the passengers march straight out ("Every 
man straight before him," like the Israelites did at Jericho, 
and the walls fell down before them ! ) No more climbing 
up Mont Blanc up a narrow precipitous gangway from 
the steamer to the jetty in the rain, and an old woman 
blocking you with her parcels and umbrella jammed by 
the stanchions, and they ask her for her ticket and she 
don't know which pocket it's in ! and the rain going down 
your neck all the time ! A glass roof goes over the motor 
vessel she has no funnels, and her telescopic wireless 
masts wind down by a 2 h.p. motor so as not to go through 
the glass roof. But all this is nothing to H.M.S. "In- 
comparable" a 25 -knot battleship that will go round the 
whole earth without refuelling ! . . . The plans of her will 
be finished next Monday, and I wrote last night to say 
I proposed in my capacity as a private British Citizen 
to go over in three weeks' time in the White Star "Ad- 
riatic" to get B or den [the Canadian Prime Minister] to 
build her at Quebec. The Building Yard put up there 
by Vickers is under a guarantee to build a Dreadnought 
in Canada in May and the great Dreadnought Dock left 
Barrow for Quebec on August 31st. No English Gov- 
ernment would ever make this plunge, which is why I 
propose going to Canada to that great man, Borden 
and take the Vickers people to make their bargain for 


Sept. 20th. 

. . . My idea now is to raise a syndicate to build the 
"Non-Pareil" ! A few millionaires would suffice, and I 


know sufficient of them to do it. All the drawings and 
designs quite ready. The one all pervading, all absorbing 
thought is to get in first with motor ships before the Ger- 
mans! Owing to our apathy during the last two years 
they are ahead with internal combustion engines! They 
have killed 15 men in experiments with oil engines and we 
have not killed one! And a d d fool of an English poli- 
tician told me the other day that he thinks this creditable 
to us! 

Without any doubt (I have it from an eye-witness of 
part of the machinery for her at Nuremberg) a big Ger- 
man oil engine Cruiser is under weigh! We must press 
forward. . . . These d d politics are barring the way. 
. . . "What!" (say these trembling idiots) "ANOTHER 
Dreadnought Revolution!" and these boneless fools chat- 
ter with fear like apes when they see an elephant! The 
imagination cannot picture that ff a greater than the 
Dreadnought is here!" Imagine a silhouette presenting 
a target 33 per cent, less than any living or projected 
Battleship! No funnels no masts no smoke she car- 
ries over 5,000 tons of oil, enough to take her round the 
world without refuelling ! Imagine what that means ! Ten 
motor boats carried on board in an armoured pit in the 
middle of her, where the funnels and the boilers used to 
be. Two of these motor Boats are over 60 feet long and 
go 45 knots! and carry 21-inch Torpedoes that go five 
miles ! Imagine these let loose in a sea fight ! 1 Imagine 
projectiles far over a ton weight! going over a 
mile or more further than even the 13%-inch gun can 
carry, and that gun has rightly staggered humanity! 
Yes! that 13%-inch gun that all my colleagues (bar one! 
and he is our future Nelson! [Jellicoe]) thought me mad 
to force through against unanimous disapproval! and see 
where we are now in consequence! We shall have 16 
British Dreadnoughts with the IS^-inch gun before the 
Germans have one!!! So it will be with the "Non-Pareil" ! 

* N.B. These very motor boats here described sank two battleships of the 
Bolshevists only the other day. See Chapter IV. F. 21/9/19. 


WE HAVE GOT TO HAVE HER. . . . I've worked 
harder over this job than in all my life before! 2 


Dec. 29th. 

... I'm getting sick of England and want to get 
back to Naples and the sun! and the "dolce far mentel" 
What fools we all are to work like we do ! Till we drop ! 

Then after this came the 15-inch gun; then the 18-inch gun, actually 
used at sea in the War; and then the 20-inch gun, ready to be built and go 
into the Incomparable, of 40,000 tons and 40 knots speed, on May 22nd, 1915. 
F. 21/9/19. 



MY very best friends are Americans. I was the 
Admiral in North America, and saw "American 
Beauties" at Bermuda. (Those American roses and 
the American women are equal!) And without question 
they are the very best dancers in the world! (I suppose 
it's from so much skating!) My only son married an 
American lady (which rejoiced me), and an American 
gentleman on the steamer complimented me that she had 
come over and vanquished him instead of his going, as 
the usual way is, to America to capture her! I had such 
a time in America when I went over to the wedding! I 
never can forget the hospitality so boundless and sin- 
cere! I really might have spent three years in America 
(so I calculated) in paying visits earnestly desired. The 
Reporters (25 of them) asked me when I left what I 
thought of their country (I tried to dodge them, but 
found them all in my cabin when I went on board!) I 
summed it up in the one word I greatly admire 
"HUSTLE!" and I got an adhesive label in America 
which I also loved ! Great Black Block letters on a crim- 
son ground 




You stick it on a letter or the back of a slow fool. Mr. 
McCrea, the President of the Pennsylvania Railway, had 
his private car take me to Philadelphia from New York. 
We went 90 miles in 90 minutes, and such a dinner ! Two 
black gentlemen did it all. And I found my luggage in 
my room when I arrived labelled: 


( How it got there so quick I can't imagine. ) I was bombed 
by a photographer as we arrived late at night, and an 
excellent photograph he took, but it gave me a shock! 
I had never been done like that ! I had the great pleasure 
of dining with Mr. Woodrow Wilson. I predicted to the 
reporters he would be the next President for sure ! I was 
told I was about the first to say so anyhow, the 25 re- 
porters put it down as my news ! 

I met several great Americans during my visit; but 
the loveliest meeting I ever had was when, long 
before, a charming company of American gentlemen 
came on July 4th to Admiralty House at Bermuda 
to celebrate "Independence Day!" I got my speech in 
before theirs ! I said George Washington was the greatest 
Englishman who ever lived! England had never been so 
prosperous, thanks solely to him, as since his time and now! 
because he taught us how to associate with our fellow coun- 
trymen when they went abroad and set up house for them- 
selves! And that George Washington was the precursor 
of that magnificent conception of John Bright in his speech 
of the ages when he foretold a great Commonwealth 
yes a great Federation of all those speaking the same 
tongue that tongue which is the "business" tongue of the 
world as it expresses in fewer words than any other 
language what one desires to convey! And I suppose 


now we have got Palestine that this Federal House of 
Commons of the future will meet at Jerusalem, the capital 
of the lost Ten Tribes of Israel, whom we are without 
doubt, for how otherwise could ever we have so prospered 
when we have had such idiots to guide us and rule us as 
those who gave up Heligoland, Tangier, Cura9oa, Corfu, 
Delagoa Bay, Java, Sumatra, Minorca, etc., etc.? I 
have been at all the places named, so am able to state from 
personal knowledge that only congenital idiots could have 
been guilty of such inconceivable folly as the surrender of 
them, and again I say: "Let us thank God that we are the 
lost ten tribes of Israel !" Mr. Lloyd George, in a famous 
speech long ago in the War, showed how we had been 
14 times "too late!" How many more "too lates" since he 
made that memorable speech? Especially what about our 
shipbuilding and the German submarine menace and 
Rationing? (The only favoured trades seem to be Brew- 
ing and Racing! Both so flourishing!) 

The American barber on board the "Baltic" told me a 
good story. He was a quaint man, clean shaved and wore 
black alpaca throughout. Halfway across the Atlantic I 
was waiting to have my hair cut, when a gentleman 
bounced in on him, kicking up a devil of a fuss about want- 
ing something at once! The barber, without moving a 
muscle, calmed him by saying: "Are you leaving to-day, 
Sir?" But this was his story. He was barber in the 
train from Chicago to New York that never stops "even 
for a death" (so he told me) when the train suddenly 
stopped at a small village and a lady got out. Mr. 
Thompson, the President of the Railway, was in the train, 
and asked why? The conductor showed an order signed 
by a great man of the Railway to stop there. When Mr. 
Thompson got to New York he asked this great man 
"What excuse?" and added: "I wouldn't have done it for 


my wife!" and the answer he got was : "No more would I !" 
But the sequel of the story is that I told this tale at an 
international cosmopolitan lunch party at Lucerne and 
said: "The curious thing is I knew the man!" when Mr. 
Chauncey Depew wiped me out by saying that "he knew 
the woman!" 

This American Barber quaintly praised the Engine 
Driver of this Chicago train by telling me that "he wax 
always looking for what he didn't want!" and so had 
avoided the train going into a River by noticing some- 
thing wrong with the points ! 

Admiral Sampson brought his Squadron of the United 
States Navy to visit me at Bermuda. I was then the 
Admiral in North America. At the banquet I gave in 
his honour I proposed his health, and that of the United 
States. He never said a word. Presently one of his 
Officers went up and whispered something in his ear. I 
sent the wine round, and the Admiral then got up, and 
made the best speech I ever heard. All he said was: "It 
was a d d fine old hen that hatched the American 
Eagle !" His chaplain, after dinner, complimented me on 
the Officers of my Flagship, the "Renown." He said : "He 
had not heard a single 'swear' from 'Soup to Pea-nuts' "! 

Lord Fisher on John Bright 

At a dinner held in London the other day to Mr. 
Josephus Daniels, Secretary to the United States Navy, 
Lord Fisher made the following speech in which he re- 
ferred to a speech by Mr. John Bright: 

"Admiral of the Fleet Lord Fisher, who was called 
upon also to respond, was received with cheers, the whole 


company standing up and drinking his health. He said 
he had no doubt at would be pleasing to them if he spoke 
about America. He was there one week. Mr. Daniels 
had been here about one week. He was in America one 
week because his only son was married there to the only 
daughter of a great Philadelphian. 

" 'King Edward who was a kind friend to me in fact 
he was my only friend at one time' remarked Lord 
Fisher, 'said to me, "You are the best hated man in the 
British Empire," and I replied, "Yes, perhaps I am." 
The King then said, "Do you know I am the only friend 
you have?" I said, "Perhaps your Majesty is right, but 
you have backed the winner." Afterwards I came out on 
top when I said, "Do you remember you backed the win- 
ner and now everyone is saying what a sagacious King 
you are? The betting was a thousand to one.' ' 


"But he was going to tell them about America, and 
some of them would hear things they had never before 
heard about their own country. When he was at Ber- 
muda a deputation of American citizens waited upon him 
on July 4th. To tell the honest truth he had forgotten 
about it. He told the deputation he knew what they had 
come there for. 'You know,' he said to them, 'the great- 
est Englishman that ever lived was George Washington. 
He taught us how to rule our Colonies. He told us that 
freedom was the thing to give them. Why, if it had not 
been for George Washington America might have been 
Ireland.' 'I shook hands with them,' continued Lord 
Fisher, 'and they went away and said nothing they had 
come to say. . . . 

" 'Now I will talk about the League of Nations. In 
A.D. 1910 an American citizen wished to see me; and he 
said to me, taking a paper out of his pocket, "Have you 
read that?" I looked at it and saw it was a speech by 
John Bright, mostly in words of one syllable simplicity 
is, of course, the great thing. That speech is really very 


little known on this side of the Atlantic or on the other, 
but it so impressed me at the time that I have been think- 
ing of it ever since. John Bright said he looked forward 
to the time when there would be a compulsory peace 
when those who spoke with the same tongue would form 
a great federation of free nations joined together.' ' 

The following is an extract from the speech by Mr. 
John Bright. It was delivered at Edinburgh in 1868: 

"I do not know whether it is a dream or a vision, or 
the foresight of a future reality that sometimes passes 
across my mind I like to dwell upon it but I frequently 
think the time may come when the maritime nations of 
Europe this renowned country of which we are citizens, 
France, Prussia, resuscitated Spain, Italy, and the United 
States of America may see that vast fleets are of no use ; 
that they are merely menaces offered from one country 
to another; and that they may come to this wise conclu- 
sion that they will combine at their joint expense, and 
under some joint management, to supply the sea with a 
sufficient sailing and armed police which may be necessary 
to keep the peace on all parts of the watery surface of 
the globe, and that those great instruments of war and 
oppression shall no longer be upheld. This, of course, 
by many will be thought to be a dream or a vision, not 
the foresight of what they call a statesman." 


When Sir Hiram Maxim that great American was 
very little known, he came to see me when I was Captain 
of the Gunnery ship at Portsmouth, bringing with him 
his ever-famous Maxim gun, to be tried by me. So we 
went to Whale Island to practise with the gun ; and when 
he was ready to fire I adopted the usual practice in trying 
all new guns and ordered the experimental party to get 
under cover; and at that order they were supposed to go 


into a sort of dug-out. Evidently old Maxim considered 
this an insult to his gun, and he roared out at the top of 
his voice: "Britishers under cover, Yankees out in the 
openl" The gun didn't burst and it was all right; but it 
might have, all the same. 

Admiral Hornby, the bravest of the brave, was one of 
the Britishers; and he came to lunch with me, being ex- 
tremely fascinated with Hiram's quaintness. Hiram was 
a delightful man in my opinion, and I remember his telling 
me that if I wanted to live long and see good days the 
thing was to eat Pork and Beans. I never had the chance, 
till 1910, of eating them cooked a I' Americaine ; and then I 
agreed with Hiram Maxim no more delicious dish in the 
world, but you can't get it in England ! After lunch there 
were some oranges on the table; and to my dying day I 
shall never forget the extraordinary look on Sir Geoffrey 
Hornby's beautiful, refined face as Hiram reached out and 
grasped an orange from the centre of the table tore it 
apart, and buried his face sucking out the contents, emerg- 
ing all orange. He told us that was the way to enjoy an 
orange. We neither, of us were up to it! 



I WAS sent as a very young Lieutenant to a little fishing 
village called Heppens in Oldenburg. It is now Wil- 
helmshaven, chief Naval Port of Germany. Its river, the 
Jahde, was then a shallow stream. The occasion for my 
visit was the cession to King William of Prussia, as he 
was then, of this place, Heppens, by the Grand Duke of 
Oldenburg ; and there I met King William, to whom I sat 
next but one at lunch, and Bismarck and von Moltke and 
von Roon were there. We had a very long-winded speech 
from the Burgomaster, and Bismarck, whom I was stand- 
ing next to, said to me in the middle of it : "I didn't know 
this was going to happen, or I would have cut him short." 
The King asked me at lunch why I had been sent, and if 
there was no one else who knew about torpedoes. Well, 
I don't think there was. It was an imposing and never- 
to-be-forgotten sight, that lunch. They all wore their 
helmets and great-coats at lunch so mediaeval and tele- 
grams kept coming to Bismarck, who would get up and 
draw the King aside, and then they would sit down again. 
Von Roon I thought very debonnaire, and Moltke was like 
an old image, taciturn and inscrutable, but he talked Eng- 
lish as well as I did. 

Years after this, Prince Adalbert's Naval Aide-de- 
camp, who was a great friend of mine, told me that on the 
day of mobilisation in the war with France he was sent to 



von Moltke with a message from Prince Adalbert, who 
was King William's brother and Head of the Navy, to 
ask him whether he could see Prince Adalbert for a few 
moments. To his astonishment, my friend found Moltke 
lying on a sofa reading "Lady Audley's Secret," by Miss 
Braddon, and he told him he could see the Prince for as 
long as he liked and whenever he liked. The word "Mob- 
ilise" had finished all his work for the present. 

On the occasion of my visit I imagined and reported 
what Heppens would become, and so it did. I never can 
make out why I didn't get a German decoration. I think 
perhaps they thought me too young. However, I had 
the honour of an empty sentry-box placed outside the 
little inn where I was staying; and if I had been of higher 
rank there would have been a sentry in it. The little inn 
was very unpretentious, and when the landlord had carved 
for us he came and sat down at table with us. Some days 
after, at a very exclusive Military Club in Berlin, I met 
the King's two illegitimate brothers. They were ex- 
actly like him; also I breakfasted with the Head of the 
German Mining School. I remember it, because we only 
had raw herring and black bread for breakfast. He was 
very poor, although he was exceeding clever, and had as 
his right-hand man a wonderful chemist. So far as I 
know, the present German mine is nearly what it was 
then, and the sea-gulls rested on the protuberances as they 
do now, for I went to Kiel Bay to see them. There was 
a lovely hotel at Kiel, where they treated me royally. I 
recommended the adoption of these German mines, and 
it's a pity we didn't. They hold the field to this very day. 
However, the First Sea Lord of that date didn't believe 
in mines or torpedoes or submarines, and I was packed off 
to China in the old two-decker "Donegal," as Commander 
of the China Flagship. Long afterwards Sir Hastings 


Yelverton, who became First Sea Lord, unburied my 
Memorandum headed "Ocean Warfare," and supported 
the views in it. It enunciated the principle of "Hit first, 
hit hard, and keep on hitting," and discoursed on Sub- 
marines and Alines. 


You are remarking to me of a charming letter written 
to me by the late Emperor of Russia's youngest sister 
the Grand Duchess Olga, She is a peculiarly sweet crea- 
ture. Her nickname amongst the Russians was "Sun- 
shine." Stolypin, the Prime Minister, told me that, and 
he also said to me that she was a kind of life-buoy because 
if you walked about with her you would not get bombed 
by an anarchist. All loved her. 

I made her acquaintance first at Carlsbad. On my 
arrival at the hotel I found King Edward's Equerry wait- 
ing in the hall. I had written to tell the King, who was at 
Marienbad, in answer to his enquiry, as to the day I 
should arrive and what time ; and he came over to Marien- 
bad from Carlsbad. I went then and there and found him 
just finishing lunch with a peculiarly charming looking 
young lady, who turned out to be the Grand Duchess Olga, 
and her husband, the Grand Duke of Oldenburg, from 
whom happily she is now divorced (I didn't like the look 
of him at all) . The King, having satisfied himself that I 
had had lunch, and he then smoking a cigar as big as a 
capstan bar, after talking of various things which in- 
terested him, told me that his niece, the Grand Duchess 
Olga, did not know anyone in Carlsbad, and he relied 
on me to make her time there pleasant, so I promptly 
asked her if she could waltz. She said she loved it, but 
she somehow never got the step properly, whereupon I 
asked the King if he had any objection to getting into the 


corner of the room while I moved the table and took the 
rugs up to give her Imperial Highness a lesson. He 
made some little difficulty at first, but eventually went 
into the corner; and when the lesson began he was quite 
pleased and clapped his hands and called out "Bravo!" 
The best waltz tune in the world is one of Moody and 
Sankey's hymns. I don't know whether Sankey orig- 
inated the saying that he didn't see why the Devil should 
have all the good music. I don't by that implicate that 
the waltz was the devil's ; but, without any doubt, there is 
a good deal of temptation in it, and when you get a good 
partner you cleave to her all the evening. 

This dancing lesson was an unalloyed success, so I 
asked her to a dance the next night at the Savoy Hotel; 
and after some more words with the King I left, and 
walking down the stairs to go to my hotel, I thought to 
myself: "How on earth are you going to get up a dance 
when you don't know a soul in the place?" when who 
should I meet but a friend of mine a Spanish Grandee, 
the Marquis de Villa Vieja, and he arranged what really 
turned out to be a ball, as he knew everybody, and I 
having some dear American friends at Marienbad I 
telegraphed them to come over and dine with the Grand 
Duchess and stay the night for the ball, and they did. 
When the dance had begun, and the Grand Duchess was 
proving quite equal to her lesson of the day before, 
suddenly an apparition of extraordinary grace and loveli- 
ness appeared at the door. Villa Vieja took on the. 
Grand Duchess and I welcomed the beautiful Polish 
Countess and danced with her many waltzes running in 
spite of a hint I received that her husband was very jeal- 
ous and a renowned duellist. Next day, by telegram from 
the King, I was told by His Majesty that Isvolsky, the 
Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs, was to be asked by 


me to lunch on his arrival that day from St. Petersburg. 
I invited him; and just as we sat down to lunch the Polish 
angel of the night before came through the door and petri- 
fied Isvolsky, and the more so as she kissed her hand to 
me. He never took his eyes off her, and as she walked 
to her table I heard him breathe a sigh, and say sotto voce, 
"Alas, in heaven no woman!" I said to him: "Monsieur 
Isvolsky, pray pardon me; perhaps you did not intend it 
to be heard, but if it be true what you say, it takes away 
much of the charm which I had anticipated finding there." 
He turned to me and said quoting chapter and verse in 
the Revelations, "There was silence in heaven." 

So when I met the Grand Duchess Olga again, when 
I accompanied King Edward on that memorable visit to 
Reval when, as Prince Orloif, the Emperor's principal 
aide-de-camp, said to me, King Edward changed the at- 
mosphere of Russian feelings towards England from sus- 
picion to cordial trust there was quite an affectionate 
meeting, and we danced the "Merry Widow" waltz a 
then famous stage performance with such effect as to 
make the Empress of Russia laugh. They told me she 
had not laughed for two years. At the banquet preced- 
ing the dance the Grand Duchess and I, I regret to say, 
made such a disturbance in our mutual jokes that King 
Edward called out to me that I must try to remember 
that it was not the Midshipmen's Mess; and my dear 
Grand Duchess thought I should be sent to Siberia or 
somewhere. We sailed at daylight, and I got a letter 
from her when I arrived in England saying she had made 
a point of seeing Uncle Bertie and that it was all right, 
I was not going to be punished. Then she went on to 
describe that she had had a very happy day (being her 
birthday) picknicking in the woods; the only drawback 


was, she told me, that the gnats would bite her ankles. 
Being, at that period, both a courtier and a sycophant, I 
telegraphed to her at some Palace she was at in Russia 
to say "I wished to God I had been one of the gnats." 
It was weeks before she got the telegram, as the Russian 
Secret Department believed it was from some anarchist, 
and was a cypher for bombing the Emperor or something 
of the sort, and there was a lot of bother to trace out who 
had sent it. 

I find among my papers another charming letter which 
I received from the Grand Duchess Olga. It runs: 

11/25 July, 1909. 


I have been going to write to you for ever so long 
and now is a chance to send you a few lines. 

How are you getting on? We speak of you very often. 
I suppose you'll be going to Carlsbad this automn and 
I am very sorry that we are not going so as to meet 
you there! 

I have a great favour to ask you but as I believe and 

think you can grant it I shall ask: Lieutenant of 

your Royal Navy whom we got to like very much two 
years ago at Sorrento is willing to come this automn and 
spend a month with us at our country place if he gets 
leaves of course; I write all this to you as I don't know 
who else can help and give him leave. 

We should like to have him about the middle of your 
September (the very beginning of ours). If you think 
he can get leave just then would you kindly telegraph 
to me then I could write and ask him ( I suppose he will 
be at Cowes?). Today is my namesday, and having re- 
ceived any amounts of presents we are going to Church 
as one always does on such occasions and then there 
will be a rather big lunch and the band will play All 
this glorious occasion is not only for me but also for my 
niece Olga. 


My sister Xenia who does not know you says she is 
sorry not to have that honour and pleasure! 

My husband sends his best love (or whatever one says) . 
Goodbye dear Admiral. I wish I was going to see you 
soon; it would be awfully amusing. Write to me later 
on when you will be free please! 

Much love and good wishes. 


P.S. Mrs. Francklin sends lots of kind messages and 
love. Mama sends her best love too. 

That visit of King Edward to Russia was really quite 
remarkable for the really eloquent speech the King made, 
without a note of any sort. I said to him at breakfast 
the next morning, when they brought in a copy of what 
they thought he had said, that I wondered on such a mo- 
mentous occasion he didn't have it written out. "Well!" 
he said to me, "I did try that once, when the French 
President Loubet came to visit me, and I learnt the speech 
off by heart in the garden of Buckingham Palace. When 
I got up to say it, I could not remember it, and had to 
keep on beginning again at the beginning. So I said to 
myself, 'Never again'!" And I must say I share his con- 
viction that there is no such eloquence as when out of the 
abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. Emotion and 
earnestness will do much more than move mountains ; they 
will move multitudes and that was what King Edward 
was able to do. 

I have spoken elsewhere of what I deemed was a suit- 
able epitaph for him those great words of Pascal: "le 
cceur a ses raisons que la raison ne connait point." The 
heart has reasons that the mind knows nothing about. 

God bless him! 

Stolypin, when we met him at Reval on King Ed- 
ward's visit to the Czar, was described to us as the great- 


est, the bravest and most single-minded Prime Minister 
that Russia had ever possessed. He spoke English 
fluently, and certainly was very pro-English. He was 
beyond deception. His only daughter, he told me, had 
been killed by a bomb while he was walking with her in 
the garden, and one of his hands was greatly mutilated 
by the same explosion. He was murdered at the theatre 
at Moscow not very long afterwards. We had many con- 
versations together. He said it was criminal folly having 
the capital of Russia elsewhere than inland, as at Mos- 
cow, for that Petersburg was open to German attack by 
sea. He seemed to have a prophetic view of England's 
imbecility as regards using her enormous sea supremacy 
to prevent the Baltic becoming a German lake, as it be- 
came in the war, though we were five times stronger than 
the German Fleet. So it passed by as an idle dream, any 
idea of England's interference, and alas! he remembered 
our betrayal of Denmark when the Germans took Kiel 
and Schleswig-Holstein. 

Stolypin repeatedly said to me the German frontier 
was his one and only thought, and he was devoting all his 
life to make that frontier impregnable against Germany, 
both in men and munitions, and strategic arrangements. 
But he did not live long enough to carry out his scheme. 


I also went with King Edward to Cartagena, when he 
returned the King of Spain's visit. King Alfonso, whom 
I had previously met in England, was very cordial to me 
because we had seven "Dreadnoughts" ready before the 
Germans had one. In fact, when I told him this piece 
of news, as we were walking up and down the deck, with 
King Edward and Queen Alexandra watching us from 


two deck-chairs, King Alfonso was so delighted that he 
threw his arms round my neck, cried "You darling!" and 
kissed me. Then he put his hand in his waistcoat pocket, 
took out a chocolate and popped it into my mouth. He 
gave me the highest Spanish Order he could. But when 
the box came on board containing it, it turned out to be 
the Order of Isabella the Catholic, which is only given 
to Roman Catholics ; but the interesting thing is that when 
I was a little Midshipman I had been reading "Ferdinand 
and Isabella," and I remember saying to my messmates 
that I intended some day to have the Order of Isabella 
the Catholic. And when, some years after, as a Lieuten- 
ant it was the fashion to wear medal ribbons in a rosette, 
upon some supercilious officer asking me what "that thing" 
was in my button-hole, I quite remember saying, by way 
of pulling his leg, that it was the Spanish Order of Isa- 
bella the Catholic. However, I got the proper Order in 
time to wear at the banquet. 

The banquet was a very fine sight, as King Alfonso 
had brought down the tapestries, pictures and other orna- 
ments from the Escurial. The Spanish Admirals were a 
grand sight. They wore the ancient uniform, and each 
had a great Malacca cane with a big gold top. They all 
came on board to call on King Edward in an old-fashioned 
pulling barge, and the sailors wore crimson and gold 
sashes. That rowing barge and the splendid uniforms 
lay at the root of one occasion when King Edward was 
really angry with me. I had been arranging for him the 
details of the great Naval Review and was summoned to 
Buckingham Palace to discuss them with him. I found 
no Equerries in attendance, no one about, and the King 
white with anger. "So!" he cried out to me, "I'm to go 
by such and such a train, am I? And I'm to embark at 
such and such a time, am I? And I'm to use your barge 


because it's a better barge than mine, is it? Look here, 
am I the King or are you?" The upshot of the interview 
was that he threw the papers on the floor, with "Have it 
your own way!" But the secret cause of his anger was 
that he had made up his mind to go off in a rowing-boat 
like the Spanish Admirals, forgetting that there is no tide 
at Cartagena, whereas the tide at Cowes runs many knots, 
and it would have taken a rowing-boat hours to do what 
the barge could do in a few minutes. 


One of the most pleasurable incidents of my holding 
the appointment of Commander-in- Chief of the Mediter- 
ranean Fleet was going to Smyrna to do honour to that 
splendid old Turk, Kiamil Pasha. He was then Vali, or 
Governor, of the Province of Smyrna. He was most 
hale and vigorous. He so delighted me with his conver- 
sations and experiences that it's a sincere joy to me now 
to recall, even in this humble way, what a magnificent 
old man he was, and how he had so often placed his life 
in jeopardy for the sake of right and for the good of his 
country, which last, he said (he spoke most fluent Eng- 
lish), had been "imperishably bound up with England's 
righteous work in the East." He had been many times 
Grand Vizier, and he knew all the secret incidents follow- 
ing and preceding the Crimean War. And he said fer- 
vidly that England was the only nation that never asked 
and never schemed to get anything out of Turkey. And 
he said it was only the insensate folly of the English Au- 
thorities that could ever have dislodged England from 
her wonderful supremacy over the minds of the whole 
Turkish people. I told him, in return, that the English 
treatment of Turkey was only on a par with the English 


folly of giving up Heligoland, Corfu, Tangier, Minorca, 
Java, Sumatra, Cura9oa (the key of the Panama Canal), 
Delagoa Bay (the only harbour in Africa), and so on, 
and so on, and explained, to his delighted amusement, 
that we were a nation of Lions led by Asses. He pretty 
well foretold all that has happened since 1902. 

With respect to Tangier, which was the dowry of Hen- 
rietta Maria, I diverge a moment to mention that a great 
Spaniard in high office once said to me that it was a curi- 
ous fact that whenever Spain had left the side of Eng- 
land she had inevitably come to grief. 

Following on Kiamil's wonderful prescience, I found 
on my visit to the Sultan, who had invited me to Con- 
stantinople, that all I had heard from him about Bulgaria 
was confirmed at Constantinople. One and all said that 
Bulgaria was the fighting nation, and that Bulgaria was 
the Key of the East. I was so saturated with the im- 
portance of this fact that I spoke to Kitchener about it 
when the War commenced, but we did not give Bulgaria 
what she wanted, and when, a year afterwards, she was 
offered the same terms it was too late. 

A great Bank always, I believe, has a travelling in- 
spector who visits all the branches. We want such a per- 
sonage to visit all our representatives in foreign lands, 
and see what they have done for England in the previous 



AMONGST the 13 First Lords of the Admiralty I have 
had to deal with (and with nine of them I was very inti- 
mately associated) I should like to record that in my 
opinion Lord George Hamilton and Lord Spencer had 
the toughest jobs, because of the constitution of their 
respective Boards of Admiralty; and yet neither of them 
received the credit each of them deserved for his most 
successful administration. With both of them their tact 
was unsurpassable. They had to deal with extremely able 
colleagues, and my experience is that it is not a good 
thing to have a lot of able men associated together. If 
you take a little of the best Port Wine, the best Cham- 
pagne, the best Claret, and the best Hock and mix them 
together, the result is disastrous. So often is it with a 
Board of Admiralty. That's why I have suffered fools 
gladly 1 But Lord George Hamilton and Lord Spencer 
had an awful time of it. To both of these (I consider) 
great men I am very specially beholden. Lord k George 
Hamilton more particularly endured much on my behalf 
when I was Director of Naval Ordnance, fighting the 
War Office. It was his own decision that sent me to 
Portsmouth as Admiral Superintendent of the Dockyard, 
and thus enabled me practically to prove the wisdom and 
the economy of concentrating workmen on one ship like 
a hive of bees and adopting piece-work to the utmost 
limit. Cannot anyone realise that if you have your men 



spread over many ships building, your capital is produc- 
ing no dividend as compared with getting a ship rushed 
and sent to sea ready to fight? I was held up as a dra- 
matic poseur because the "Dreadnought" was built in a 
year and a day. Yes! She was ready to fight in a year 
and a day. She did fire her guns. The "Inflexible," her 
famous prototype in former years, which I commanded, 
was four or five years building. I took up the battleship 
"Royal Sovereign" when I went as Superintendent of 
Portsmouth Dockyard and got her completed within two 
years, and thereby saw my way to doing it in a year. And 
so would I have done the famous "Hush Hush" ships, as 
I said I would; only circumstances brought about my 
departure from the Admiralty, and apathy came back, 
and those "Hush Hush" ships consequently took more 
than a year to build. And some armchair quill-drivers 
still sling ink at 'em. And when I heard from an eye- 
witness how the whole lot of German cruisers did flee 
when they appeared and ought to have been gobbled up 
I rubbed my hands with malignant glee at the devasta- 
tion of my pen-and-ink enemies. As usual in the war, on 
that occasion the business wasn't pushed home. 

To revert to my theme I owe also a great debt to 
Lord George Hamilton, when at a previous stage of my 
career he dissuaded me from accepting an offer from 
Lord Rothschild, really beyond the dreams of avarice, of 
becoming the head of a great armament and shipbuilding 
combine, which accordingly fell through on my refusal. 
Had I gone, I'd have been a millionaire instead of a 
pauper as I am now; but I wouldn't have been First 
Sea Lord from 1904 to 1910 and then "Sacking the Lot!" 
Lord George also selected me to be Controller of the 

Lord Spencer called a horse after me almost as great 


an honour. Lord Spencer was really a very magnificent 
man, and he had the attributes of his great ancestor, who 
selected Nelson over a great many of his seniors to go 
and win the Battle of the Nile. There was no one else 
who would have done it; and when Sir John Orde, one 
of the aggrieved Admirals, told the King that the selected 
Nelson was mad, he replied, "I wish to God he would 
bite you all!" My Lord Spencer had the same gift of 
selection it's the biggest gift that a man in such a posi- 
tion can have, and the life, the fate of his country may 
depend upon him. Only war finds out poltroons. Lord 
Spencer turned out his master, to whom he was faithfully 
devoted, when he saw the Navy was in danger and that 
Mr. Gladstone would not agree to strengthen it. His 
manners were superb. He satisfied that great description 
of what constitutes a gentleman: "He never hurt any 
man's feelings." 

There's another First Lord I have too faintly alluded 
to Lord Northbrook. He also was a great man, but he 
was not considered so by the populace. He was a victim 
to his political associates they let him in. His finance 
at the Admiralty was bad through no fault of his, and he 
was persuaded to go to Egypt, which I think was a mis- 
take. I stayed with him, and the miscroscope of home 
revealed him to me. His conceptions were magnificent 
and his decisions were like those of the Medes and Per- 
sians. Of all the awful people in the world nothing is 
so terrible as a vacillator. I am not sure the Devil isn't 
right when he says, "Tell a lie and stick to it." Lord 
Northbrook also in spite of intense opposition laid hold 
of my hand and led me forth in the paths I glory in, of 
Reform and Revolution. Stagnation, in my opinion, is 
the curse of life. I have no fellow-feeling with those 
placid souls who, like a duck-pond, torpid and quiescent, 


live the life of cabbages. I don't believe anybody can 
say, "Of such is the Kingdom of Heaven," because it is 
immortally shown that strife is the secret of a good life. 

As with Lord Spencer, so was it with Lord Selborne. 
He again, as First Lord of the Admiralty, took the un- 
usual course of kindly coming to Malta to see me when I 
commanded the Mediterranean fleet (the Boer War 
placed England in a very critical position at that time) ; 
and though there was a great strife with the Admiralty 
he chose me after my three years as Commander-in-Chief 
to be Second Sea Lord of the Admiralty and permitted 
me to unfold a scheme of education which came into being 
on the following Christmas Day without the alteration of 
a comma. More than that, he benevolently spared me 
from the Admiralty to become Commander-in-Chief at 
Portsmouth, to see that scheme carried out. Many letters 
have I that that step indicated the end of my naval career. 
I believe to that date it always has been so, but within a 
year I was First Sea Lord, and never did any First Lord 
hold more warmly the hand of his principal adviser than 
Lord Selborne held mine. 

There are few people living to whom I am under a 
greater obligation than Admiral Sir Francis Bridgeman, 
G.C.B. This distinguished sailor aided me in the gradual 
building up of the Grand Fleet. As I have said before, 
it had to be done unostentatiously and by slow degrees, 
for fear of exciting the attention of the German Ad- 
miralty and too much embroiling myself with the Admirals 
whose fleets had to be denuded till they disappeared, so 
as to come under Admiral Sir Francis Bridgeman's com- 
mand, with whom the Grand Fleet originated under the 
humble designation of the Home Fleet a gathering and 
perpetuation of the old more or less stationary coast- 
guard ships scattered all round the United Kingdom and, 



By kind permission of "The Daily Exprtt* 1 


NELSON (ire Trafalgar Square) : "I was on my way down to lend them a 
hand myself, but if Jacky Fisher's taking on the job there's no need for me 
to be nervous; I'll get back on my pedestal." 

Nelson looking up Sir John Fisher on his first day as First Sea Lord, 
Trafalgar Day, 1904. 

By kind permission of "London Opinion' 


"Why Mr. Wilson should expect this country to refrain from exercising a 
right in return for Germany's refraining from committing wrongs is not 
very clear to the ordinary intelligence." Daily Paper. 

DAME WILSON (to P. C. Fisher) : "Oh, Constable! Don't hurt him. I'm sure 
he won't murder anyone else !" 

Portrait by J. Maltia & Co., Valetta 




as the old phrase was, "Grounding on their beef bones" as 
they swung with the tide at their anchors. In the Provi- 
dence of God the animosities of the Admirals thus en- 
gendered caused the real success of the whole scheme 
and what should have been as clear as crystal to the least 
observant onlooker was obscured by the fumes of anger 
exuding from these scandalised Admirals. I look back 
with astonishment at my Job-like conduct, but it had its 
compensations. I hope Sir Francis Bridgeman will for- 
give me for hauling him into this book I have no other 
way of showing him my eternal gratitude; and it. was 
with intense delight that I congratulated Mr. Churchill 
on obtaining his services to succeed Sir Arthur Wilson, 
the First Sea Lord, who had so magnificently adhered to 
the scheme I left. 

Sir Arthur refused a Peerage, and he was a faithful 
and self-effacing friend in his room at the Admiralty those 
seven fateful months I was First Sea Lord during the 
war. It was peculiarly fortunate and providential that 
the two immediately succeeding First Sea Lords after 
my departure on January 25th, 1910, should have been 
the two great sailors they were otherwise there would 
have been no Grand Fleet they altered nothing, and 
the glacier moved along, resistless and crushing all the 
obstacles in its path, and now, after the war, it has passed 
on; the dead corpses of the foes of the scheme are dis- 
closed, and we'll bury them without comment. 

I began these talks by solemnly declaring that I would 
not mention a single living name please let it stand 
it shows what one's intention was ; but one is really forced 
to stand up to such outstanding personalities as Sir Ar- 
thur Wilson and Sir Francis Bridgeman, and I again 
repeat with all the emphasis at my command that it would 
have been impossible to have conducted those eight great* 


years of ceaseless reform, culminating in the production of 
the most incomparable fleet that ever existed, had not the 
two Political Administrations, four First Lords, and every 
member of the several Boards of Admiralty been, as I 
described them in public, united, determined, and pro- 
gressive. Never for one instant did a single Board of 
Admiralty during that time lay on its oars. For to rest 
on our oars would not have been standing still ; the malig- 
nant tide was fierce against us, and the younger Officers 
of the fleet responded splendidly. 

On January 3rd, 1903, I wrote as follows in reply to 
some criticism of me as First Sea Lord: 

"Our Fleets are 50 per cent, more at sea, and we hit 
the target 50 per cent, more than we did two years ago. 

"In the first year there were 2,000 more misses than 

"In the second year there were 2,000 more hits than 

The very first thing I did when I returned to the Ad- 
miralty as First Sea Lord for those seven months in the 
first year of the war was instantly to get back Sir Percy 
Scott into the Fighting Arena. I had but one answer to 
all his detractors and to the opposition to his return: 

"He hits the target!" 

He also was maliciously maligned. I don't mean to 
say that Sir Percy Scott indulges in soft soap towards 
his superiors. I don't think he ever poured hot water 
down anybody's back. Let us thank God he didn't! 

I have repeatedly said (and I reiterate it whenever I 
get the chance) that Nelson was nothing if he was not 
insubordinate. Nelson's four immortal Big Fights are 
brilliant and everlasting testimonies to the virtues of Self- 
Assertion, Self -Reliance, and Contempt of Authority. 


But of Nelson and the Nelsonic attributes I treat in an- 
other place. (Ah ! Lord Rosebery, if only you had written 
"Nelson's Last Phase"! I entreated you, but without 
avail!) (Again a repetition!) Nelson's Life not yet 
written! Southey's Life, meant only for schoolboys, still 
holds the field. W. T. Stead might have done it, for the 
sacred fire of Great Emotions was the calorific of Stead's 
Internal Combustion Engine. Suffice it to say of Sir 
Percy Scott that it was he and he alone who made the 
first start of the Fleet's hitting the enemy and not missing 
him. Why hasn't he been made a Viscount? But that is 
reserved for those in another sphere! 

"The Tides and Sir Frederick Treves." One of my 
greatest benefactors (he saved my life. Six doctors 
wanted to operate on me he wouldn't have it; the conse- 
quence I'm better now than ever I was in my life) is 
Sir Frederick Treves, Surgeon, Orator, Writer, "De- 
veloper of the Powers of Observation." He, this morn- 
ing, September 16th, 1919, gives me something to think 
about. It has relation to my dear and splendid friend 
Sir Charles Parsons, President of the British Association 
and inventor of the Turbine, who said the other day at 
Bournemouth that our coal bids fair to fail and we must 
seek other sources of power. Considering that Sir Charles 
invented the Turbine derided by everyone as a box of 
tricks, and it now monopolises 80 per cent, of the horse- 
power of the world we ought to listen to him. His idea 
is to dig a twelve-mile hole into the earth to get hold of 
power. Now Sir Frederick in his letter this morning uses 
these words : 

"England is an Island. We are surrounded on all 
sides with the greatest source of power in the world the 

"There is enough force in the Tides to light and heat 


the whole country, and to run all its railways. It is run- 
ning to waste while we are bellowing for coal." 

I know exactly what the Royal Society will say to Sir 
Frederick Treves. The Royal Society, not so many years 
ago, said through one of its most distinguished members 
that the aeroplane was a physical impossibility. When 
I said this to Sir Hiram Maxim he placed his thumb to 
his nose and extended his fingers ; and, as I have remarked 
elsewhere, aeroplanes are now as plentiful as sparrows. 
So do not let us put Sir Frederick Treves in the waste 
paper basket. He's a great man. When Lord Lister 
and my dear friend Sir Thomas Smith were beholding 
him operating on King Edward at the time when his ill- 
ness stopped his Coronation even those two wonderful 
surgeons held their breath at Treves's astounding skill and 
confidence. He kept on, and saved King Edward's life. 
There was no "Not running risks" with him. He snatched 
his King from death. The others both thought Death had 
won, and they both exclaimed! 

Sir Frederick won't see this until he reads it in his 
presentation copy of this book, or he wouldn't have it. 

And then he is so choice in his educational ideas. 
Here's a lovely morsel, which I commend to Schoolmas- 
ters (Curse 'em! they ruined Osborne). Sir Frederick 
says : 

"Our present system of education is on a par with 
the Training of Performing Dogs, they're merely taught 
tricks! and Trick antics do not help a boy much in the 
serious business of life. There is no attempt to get at 
the mind of a boy, and still less any attempt to find out 
his particular abilities. The only thing is, Is he good at 
Mental Acrobatics? A very fine book on 'The New Edu- 
cation' * was published in the Autumn of last year, 1918. 

"The New Teaching," edited by John Adams. Hodder and Stoughton. 


It shows up the wasteful absurdities of the present Edu- 
cational System. Of course, no attention has been paid 
to it, because it is so simple, so evident, and so human. 
. . . Years are spent in teaching a boy Latin Verses, but 
never a moment to teach him 'How to develop powers of 
Observation' *' 

I could tell my readers instances of Sir Frederick's 
powers in this last regard; and the medical students dur- 
ing the many years he was their Lecturer could all of 
them do Sir Frederick greater justice than I can. 

"God bless Sir Frederick Treves!" 

Of all the famous men I have known, Lord Kelvin had 
the greatest brain. He went to sea with me in many new 
ships that I commanded. Once, in a bleak March east 
wind at Sheerness I found him on deck on a high pedestal 
exposed to the piercing blast watching his wonderful com- 
pass, and he had only a very thin coat on. I said: "For 
goodness' sake, Sir William, come down and put on a great 
coat." He said: "No, thank you, I am quite warm. I've 
got several vests on." His theory was that it was much 
warmer wearing many thin vests than one thick one, as 
the interstices of one were filled up by the next one, and 
so on. I explained this afterwards, as I sat one day at 
lunch next to the Emperor of Russia, when he asked me 
to explain my youth and good health, and I hoped that 
he would follow Lord Kelvin's example, as I did. Lord 
Kelvin got this idea of a number of thin vests instead of 
one thick one from the Chinese, who, in many ways, are 
our superiors. 

For instance, a Chinaman, like an ancient Greek or 
Roman, maintains that the liver is the seat of the human 
affections. We believe that the heart is. So a Chinese 
always offers his hand and his liver to the young lady of 
his choice. Neither do they ever kiss each other in China. 


Confucius stopped it because the lips are the most sus- 
ceptible portion of the human body to infection. When 
two Chinese meet, they rub their knees with their hands, 
and say "Ah" with a deep breath. A dear friend of mine 
went to the Viceroy of Nankin to enquire how his newly- 
raised Army was getting on with the huge consignment 
of magnificent rifles sent out from England for its use. 
The Chinese Viceroy told my friend he was immensely 
pleased with these rifles, and the reports made to him 
showed extraordinary accuracy, as the troops hit the tar- 
get every time. The Viceroy sent my friend up in a Chi- 
nese gunboat to see the Army. When my friend landed 
he was received by the Inspector-General of Musketry, 
who was a peacock feather Mandarin, and taken to see the 
soldiers firing. To my friend's amazement the soldiers 
were firing at the targets placed only a few hundred yards 
off, and he explained to the Mandarin that these wonder- 
ful rifles fitted with telescopic sights were meant for long 
ranges, and their accuracy was wonderful. The Man- 
darin replied to him: "Look here! my orders from the 
Viceroy are that every man in the army should hit the 
target, because these rifles are so wonderfully good, and 
so they do, and the Viceroy is very pleased at my reports." 
And he added: "You know, we go back 2,000 years be- 
fore your people in our knowledge of the world." 

Lord Kelvin had a wonderful gift of being able to 
pursue abstruse investigations in the hubbub of a drawing 
room full of visitors. He would produce a large green 
book out of a gamekeeper's pocket he had at the back 
of his coat, and suddenly go ahead with figures. I had 
an interesting episode once. Sir William Thomson, as 
he then was, had come with me for the first voyage of a 
new big cruiser that I commanded. I had arranged for 
various responsible persons to report to me at 8 a.m. how 


various parts of the ship were behaving. One of them 
reported that a rivet was loose, and there was a slight 
leak. I said casually: "I wonder how much water would 
come in if the rivet came out altogether." Sir William 
was sitting next me at breakfast, very much enjoying 
eggs and bacon, and he asked the Officer: "How big is the 
rivet?" and whereabouts it was, etc. The Officer left, and 
Sir William went on with his eggs and bacon, and I talked 
to Sir Nathaniel Barnaby on the other side of me, who was 
the designer of the ship that we were in. Presently, Sir 
William, in a mild voice, never having ceased his eggs 
and bacon, said so much water would come in. Sir N. 
Barnaby thereupon worked it out on paper and said to 
Sir William: "You made a good guess." He replied: 
"I didn't guess. I worked it out." 

The Midshipmen idolised Lord Kelvin, and they were 
very intimate with him. I heard one of them, who was 
four-foot-nothing, explain to Sir William how to make a 
magnet. Sir William listened to the Midshipman's lec- 
ture on magnetism with the greatest deference, and gave 
the little boy no idea of what a little ass he was to be 
talking to the greatest man on earth on the subject of 
magnetism. The same little boy took the time for him 
in observing the lighthouse flashes, and Sir William wrote 
a splendid letter to The Times pointing out that the in- 
tervals of darkness should be the exception, and the flashes 
of light the rule, in a lighthouse, whereupon the Chief 
Engineer of the Lighthouse Department traversed Sir 
William's facts. The little boy came up to Sir William 
and asked him if he had read the letter, and he hadn't, so 
he told him of it and then asked Sir William if he would 
like him to write to The Times to corroborate him. Sir 
William thanked him sweetly, but said he would take no 
notice, as they would alter the flashes, and so they did. 


This little boy was splendid. He played me a 
Machiavellian trick. We had an ass one night as Officer 
of the Watch, and in the middle watch I was nearly jerked 
out of my cot by a heavy squall striking the ship. I 
rushed upon deck (raining torrents) and we got in what 
was left of the sails, and I came down soaked through and 
bitterly cold, and on the main deck I met my young friend, 
the little Midshipman, with a smoking hot bowl of cocoa. 
I never enjoyed anything more in my life, and I blessed 
the little boy, but it suddenly occurred to me that he was 
as dry as a bone. I said: "How is it you are dressed?" 
He said: "I am Midshipman of the watch." I said: "The 
devil you are! How is it you aren't wet?" "Well, sir," 
he said, "I thought I should be best doing my duty by 
going below and making you a bowl of cocoa." I felt I 
had sold myself, like Esau, for a mess of pottage. He 
was a splendid boy, and he wrote me periodically till he 
died. He was left a fortune. He was turned out of the 
Navy for knocking his Captain down. I received a tele- 
gram to say that he was ill and delirious and talking of 
me only, and almost immediately afterwards a telegram 
came to say he was dead. 

Sir Nathaniel Barnaby, the eminent Director of Naval 
Construction at the Admiralty, was also a great man, but 
he never had recognition. He was not self-assertive. He 
was as meek as Moses, and he was a saint. It was he 
conceived the wonder of the time the "Inflexible"; and 
I was her first Captain. He went out in her with me to 
the Mediterranean. We had an awful gale in the Bay of 
Biscay. Sir Nathaniel nearly died with sea-sickness. I 
was cheering him up, and he whispered in reply: "Fools 
build houses for wise men to live in. Wise men build ships 
for fools to go in." 

If ever there was a great Christian, he was. After 


he retired he devoted his whole life to Sunday schools, not 
only in this country, but in America. There was some 
great scheme, of which he gave me particulars at the time, 
of a vast association of all Sunday schools wherever the 
English tongue is spoken. Perhaps it is in being now 
I don't know; but it was a fine conception that on some 
specified day throughout the world every child should 
join in some hymn and prayer for that great idea of John 
Bright's the Commonwealth of Free Nations, all speak- 
ing the same grand old English tongue. I was too busy 
ever to follow that up, as I would have liked to have done, 
and been his missionary. 

A letter which he wrote to me in 1910, and a much 
earlier note of mine to him, which he enclosed with it, 
are interesting, and I give them here: 

Letter from Sir Nathaniel Barnaby, K.C.B. (formerly 
Chief Constructor of the Navy) to Lord Fisher. 

15th January, 1910 


I suppose the enclosed brief note must have been 
written by you to me over a quarter of a century ago. 
You were meditating "Dreadnoughts" even then and find- 
ing in me the opposition on the ground of "the degrada- 
tion of our other Ironclads" through the introduction of 
the "18-knot Nonsuch.' " 

I have said to you before that I love a man who knows 
his own mind, and insists on getting his way. I have 
therefore no complaint to make. 

In a note dated two days earlier I see you say, "Bother 
the money ! if we are all agreed that will be forthcoming." 

And they accuse you of cheeseparing and starving the 

It was I that stood for economy see enclosed, on the 
principal events affecting and indicating Naval Policy, 


1866-1884, drawn up by me for Mr. Campbell-Banner- 

See also the other side of me in a letter to the Peace 
Society People, and see a little hymn written for children 
to "Russian National Anthem" and now widely sung. 
With sincere respect and good wishes, 

Yours always, 

Please return your note to me; nothing else. 

This was the old letter of mine which he enclosed: 
From Lord Fisher to Sir N. Barnaby in 1883. 

January 25th. 

I have delayed sending you this letter hoping to find 
copy of a brief article I wrote on H.M. Ironclad "Non- 
such" of 18 knots, after seeing your design A; I can't 
find it, and have written for the original, which I will 
send for your amusement. I don't think your argument 
is a sound one as to the "degradation of our other iron- 
clads by the construction of an 18-knotter." Isn't the 
principle right to make each succeeding ironclad an im- 
provement and as perfect as you can? 


We've had enough of the "Admiral" class of ship. Now 
try your hand on a "Nonsuch" (of vast speed!) 

In violent haste, 

Ever yours, 
(Sgd.) J. A. F. 

"Build few, and build fast, 
Each one better than the last." 

Two of Sir Nanthaniel Barnaby's great successors in 
that arduous and always thankless post of Director of 
Naval Construction are Sir Philip Watts and Sir Eustace 
Tennyson-D'Eyncourt. These two great men have each 


of them done such service as should have brought them 
far greater honour than as yet they have received. The 
"Dreadnought" could not have been born but for Sir 
Philip Watts. I commend to all who wish to have a 
succinct account of the ships of the British Navy that 
formed the line of battle on the outbreak of war on the 
4th August, 1914, to read the paper delivered by Sir 
Philip Watts at the Spring Meeting of the Naval Archi- 
tects on the 9th April, 1919, when a very excellent Sea 
Officer with more brains than most people I have met 
presided being the Marquis of Bristol. And it was a 
great delight to me that he commanded the "Renown," 
my favourite ship, to bring to England King Alfonso 
an equally admired hero of mine. If ever there was a 
brave man it is King Alfonso. 

My other scientific hero besides Sir Philip Watts is 
Sir Eustace D'Eyncourt. He also was the practical 
means, besides his wonderful professional genius, of bring- 
ing forth what a*re known as the "Hush Hush" ships on 
account of the mystery surrounding their construction; 
and notwithstanding the armchair "Know-alls" who have 
done their best to blast their reputation, they achieved 
the five of them a phenomenal success. Sir Eustace 
D'Eyncourt also gave us those incomparable Monitors, 
with their bulges under water, which were "given away" 
through the unmitigated folly of the Censors, who per- 
mitted a newspaper correspondent to describe how he had 
seen men, like St. Peter, walking on the water they were 
walking on the protuberance which extended under the 
surface as the absolute protection against submarines; 
and when an old first-class cruiser called the "Grafton" 
had been so made submarine-proof, the captain of her, 
after receiving a torpedo fired at him at right angles and 
hitting him amidships, reported to the Admiralty that 


she went faster than before, simply because her hull 
proper had not been touched; the submarine had only 
blown away the submarine obstruction that Sir Eustace 
had fitted to her. Has he been made a lord ? Personally 
I should say the tanks could never have existed without 
him; of that I am quite sure. Sir Philip Watts and Sir 
Eustace D'Eyncourt are enshrined in my heart. 

Previously in this chapter I mentioned Mr. Gladstone. 
I sat next to him at dinner once. At the other side of 
him was a very beautiful woman, but she was struck dumb 
by awe of Mr. Gladstone, so he turned round to me and 
asked me if I had ever been in China. Yes, I had. And 
he asked me who were the best missionaries. I said the 
Roman Catholics were the most successful, as they wore 
the Chinese dress, were untrammelled by families, so they 
got better amongst the people in the interior, but further- 
more in their chapels they represented our Saviour and 
His Apostles with pigtails and dressed as Chinamen. Yes, 
he said, he remembered that, and he told me the name 
of the Head of the Roman Catholic Mission, whose name 
I had forgotten, and said to me that the Pope considered 
he had gone too far in that respect, and had recalled him. 
That had happened some twenty years previously, and I 
had forgotten all about it. Someone said what a pity that 
all that is now being said is being lost. Mr. Gladstone 
said: "Nothing is lost. Science will one day take off the 
walls of this room what we have been saying." This was 
years before the gramophone and the dictaphone and the 
telephone. He told us a great deal about Abraham and 
pigs, and why Abraham was so dead against them, and 
how he, Gladstone, had been driven by Daniel O'Connell 
in a four-in-hand, and how the Bishops in his early days 
were so much handsomer than now. One Bishop he spe- 
cially named was called "The Beauty of Holiness." When 


he left, he asked me to walk home with him, which I did. 
Mrs. Gladstone said, seated inside the brougham which 
was waiting at the door: "Come in, William." He said: 
"No, I am going to walk with this young man." It was 
midnight, and Piccadilly was quite alive. He was living 
with Lady Frederick Cavendish, I think, at Carlton Gar- 
dens. We were nearly run over, as he was regardless of 
the traffic. I remember his saying: "Do right, and you 
can never suffer for it." I thought of that when, in my 
own case later on, it was "Athanasius contra Mundum." 
I was urged only to attack one vested interest at a time, 
but I said, "No, if you kick everyone's shins at the same 
time they won't trouble about their neighbours," and it 
succeeded; but alas! I gave up one thing, which was the 
real democratic pith and marrow, the Free Education of 
the Naval Officer, and a competence from the moment of 
entry, and open to all. King Edward said to me about 
this: "You're a Socialist." I said that a white shirt doesn't 
imply the best brain. We have forty million to select 
from, and we restrict our selection to about one-fortieth 
of the population. 

I here relate an episode which made a deep impression 
on me and one never effaced. At the time of Gladstone's 
death I was looking at his picture in a shop window. Two 
working men were doing the same. The one said to the 
other: "That man died poor, but could have died rich, had 
he used his knowledge as Prime Minister to make invest- 
ments quite lawfully; but he didn't!" 

It really is a very fine thing in the public men of this 

I have always worshipped Abraham Lincoln. I have 
elsewhere related how he never argued with Judge or Jury 
or anyone else, but always told a story, thus following 
that great and inestimable example in Holy Writ: "And 


without a parable spake he not unto them." But one 
wishes it were more known how great were his simple 
views. His sole idea of a Christian Church was to preach 
the Saviour's condensed statement "to love God and your 
Neighbour!" He said that summed up all religion. He 
gloried in having been himself a hired labourer and be- 
lieved in a system which allowed labourers "to strike" 
when they wanted to, and did not oblige them to labour 
whether you pay them or not. He said: "I do not believe 
in a law to prevent a man getting rich (that would do 
more harm than good), so while we do not propose any 
war upon Capital we do wish to allow the humblest an 
equal chance to get rich with everybody else. I want 
every man to have a chance to better his condition." And 
what Lincoln says of diligence is very good: "The leading 
rule for the man of every calling is DILIGENCE! 
Whatever piece of business you have in hand, before 
stopping do all the labour pertaining to it which can be 

That most moving account of Lincoln's simple elo- 
quence at the graves of Gettysburg is a most touching 
episode. The thousands listening to him never uttered 
a sound. There was a dead silence when he stopped 
speaking. He left thinking himself a failure. It was 
the success of his life. A great orator just before him 
had moved the multitude to cheer unboundedly! but after 
Lincoln their feelings made them dumb. 

While on personalities, I should like to say a little 
on one of the best friends I ever had and in my opinion 
the greatest of all journalists. Lord Morley once told 
me that he had never known the equal of W. T. Stead 
in his astounding gift of catching the popular feeling. 
He wa* absolute integrity and he feared no man. I my- 
self have heard him tackle a Prime Minister like a terrier 


a rat. I have known him go to a packed meeting and 
scathe the whole mob of them. He never thought of 
money; he only thought of truth. He might have been 
a rich man if he hadn't told the truth. I know it. When 
he was over sixty he performed a journalistic feat that 
was wondrous. By King Edward's positive orders a cor- 
don was arranged round the battle-cruiser "Indomitable," 
arriving late at night at Cowes with the Prince of Wales 
on board, to prevent the Press being a nuisance. Stead, 
in a small boat, dropped down with the tide from ahead 
and swarmed up a rope ladder under the bows, about 30 
feet high and then along a sort of greasy pole, known 
to sailors as the lower boom, talked to one of the Officers, 
who naturally supposed he couldn't be there without per- 
mission; and the Daily Mail the next morning had the 
most perfect digest I have ever read of perhaps one of 
the most wonderful passages ever made. This big battle 
cruiser, encumbered with the heaviest guns known, and 
with hundreds and hundreds of tons of armour on her 
side, beat the "Mauretania," the greyhound of the seas, 
built of gingerbread, carrying no cargo, and shaped for 
no other purpose than for speed and luxury. 

Of course no other paper had a word. 

Stead always told me he would die in his boots. Strife 
was his portion, he said. I am not sure that my friend 
Arnold White would not have shot him at sight in the 
Boer War. Stead was a pro-Boer, and so was I. I sim- 
ply loved Botha, and Botha gave me great words. He 
said : "English was the business language of the globe" 
that's good! Of course every genius has a strain of queer- 
ness. Does not the poet say: "Great wits to madness 
often are allied?" I remember a book which had a great 
circulation, entitled "The Insanity of Genius." I very 
nearly wrote a letter to The Times, only I was afraid they 


might think me mad, and I was afraid that Admiral Fitz- 
gerald might not think me modest (see his letter in The 
Times of Sept. 8th, 1919). This was my letter to The 

"Genius is not insanity, it only means the man is be- 
fore his time. That's all." 

That was the whole of the letter. 

There was a very great scientist (he is a very great 
friend of mine and he discovered something I can't re- 
member the name of) who said: "A man must be mad to 
think of flying machines!" and he lived to see them as 
plentiful as sparrows. 

Without saying a word to me or even letting me know, 
in a few hasty hours Stead wrote in the "Review of Re- 
views" in February, 1910, the most extraordinarily ac- 
curate resume of every date and name connected with 
my career. It would have taken any other man a month. 
However, he made one great mistake in it. He only 
spoke in it, like all other things that have been said of 
me, of "The full corn in the ear!" What really is a 
man's life is the endurance and the adversity and the 
non-recognition and the humiliating slights and the fight- 
ing morning, noon and night, of early life. That brings 
fortune. I like that word "fortune." Those inspired 
men who translated the Great Bible never said a thing 
"happened," they always said it "fortuned." 

I here insert a letter kindly lent me by Lord Esher. 
As it was written on the spur of the moment and out of 
the abundance of the heart, I give it verbatim. Esher 
loved Stead as much as I did. I knew it, and that's why 
I wrote to him. We felt a common affliction : 


This loss of dear old Stead numbs me ! Cromwell and 
Martin Luther rolled into one. And such a big heart. 


Such great emotions. You must write something. All 
I've read quite inadequate. The telegrams here say he 
was to the forefront with the women and children, putting 
them in the boats! / can see him! and probably singing 
"Hallelujah," and encouraging the ship's band to play 
cheerfully. He told me he would die in his boots. So he 
has. And a fine death. As a boy he had threepence a 
week pocket money. One penny bought Shakespeare in 
weekly parts, the other two pennies to his God for Mis- 
sions. And the result was he became editor of a big news- 
paper at 22! And he was a Missionary himself all his 
life. Fearless even when alone, believing in his God 
the God of truth and his enemies always rued it when 
they fought him. He was an exploder of "gas-bags" and 
the terror of liars. He was called a "wild man" because 
he said "Two keels to one." He was at Berlin the High 
Personage said to him: "Don't be frightened!" Stead 
replied to the All Highest: "Oh, no! we won't! for every 
Dreadnought you build we will build two!" That was the 
genesis of the cry "Two keels to one." I have a note of 
it made at the time for my "Reflections." But, my dear 
friend, put your concise pen to paper for our Cromwellian 
Saint. He deserves it. 

Yours always, 


"You cannot do anyone more good than by trying un- 
successfully to do him an injury," was one of the aphor- 
isms of Lord Dalling (Sir Henry Bulwer) ; and it oc- 
curred to me forcibly on one occasion when I went to stay 
with my very great friend, Henry Labouchere (the pro- 
prietor of Truth) . On the way I had been reading a pe- 
culiarly venomous attack on me in his paper ; and when he 
greeted me as affectionately as ever, I showed it to him, 
saying: "Don't put your arm on my shoulder! Read that 
damned thing there!" Labouchere glanced at it and re- 
plied. "Where would you have been if I hadn't persist- 
ently maligned you?" 


When I was with him at his villa at Florence, he used 
to smoke the most beastly cigarettes at ten a penny, yet 
he left over a million sterling, and was generous to ab- 
surdity to those he loved. 

He had none but Italian servants; he told me he was 
always extremely polite to them, for the knife came so 
easy to them. He said he didn't realise this until, after 
he had had some words with an English friend, his Italian 
gardener, who had overheard the altercation, asked La- 
bouchere if he would like him (the gardener) to deal with 
his friend, and he tapped the stiletto in his waist-band. 

His own wit was as ready as his gardener's stiletto. 
On one occasion he was at Cologne railway station, and 
the Custom House Officer was turning his portmanteau 
inside out. Labouchere had a telegraph form in his 
pocket; he wrote out a telegram with a stylographic pen 
and handed it to the official who was standing behind the 
Custom House Officer and told him it was a Government 
telegram. This was the telegram: 



Can't dine with you to-night. Missed train through 
a damned ass of a Custom House Officer. Will let you 
have his name. 


They offered him a special train. Labouchere had 
never seen Bismarck in his life. This was the occasion 
on which Labouchere was reprimanded by the Foreign 
Office for his delay in taking up his appointment as at- 
tache at St. Petersburg. His excuse was that the money 
allowed him only permitted his travelling by railway as 
far as Cologne; the rest of the way he walked. 

This book would be incomplete if I did not draw at- 


tention to the great debt the nation owes to three men 
yet unmentioned in this volume. 

Mr. George Lambert, M.P., twice refused office and 
sacrificed his political prospects and with a glorious vic- 
tory sustained the whole Government effort to kick him 
out of Parliament; but he conquered with a magnificent 
majority of over two thousand! Why? 

Because after serving for over seven years in the Ad- 
miralty he could speak of his own knowledge that the 
War administration and the fighting Sea Policy were 
shamefully effete. 

The Recording Angel will mark down opposite Mr. 
Lambert's name: "Well done, thou good and faithful serv- 
ant!" But may he also have his reward here and now, 
as many years of good work here below may lie between 
him and Heaven as yet. 

Commodore Hugh Paget Sinclair is another "Stal- 
wart" of the War. His business was to provide the offi- 
cers and men to man the Fleet imagine the stupendous 
task that was his ! 

We never wanted for Officer or Man! 

He is now Director of Naval Intelligence; and may 
his ascent in the Navy be what is his splendid due ! 

Sir Alfred Yarrow I select for mention, for without 
him Mesopotamia would have been a bigger crime than 
it was, and throughout all ages it will be branded for 
gross and culpable and criminal ineptitude. If I was 
asked to name the Capturer of Bagdad I would unhesi- 
tatingly reply it was Sir Alfred Yarrow. 

The Navy has not had its due credit for the Capture 
of Bagdad. If Sir Alfred Yarrow with his usual astound- 
ing push, and without regard to red tape or thanks or 
recognition, had not sent those splendid light-draught 
gunboats of his to Mesopotamia, packed up in bits like 


portmanteaux, then Bagdad would not have been ours. 
The Viceroy of India sent us (acting on the advice he 
had received) the wrong draught of water. We ignored 
the Viceroy and all his crew. It took eighteen days to 
get this pressing vital business through the Government 
Departments concerned. It took us one day to accom- 
plish the whole procedure, with Sir Alfred Yarrow, and 
we chucked all the Departments. So 24 light-draught 
gunboats grew up like Jonah's Gourd, which came up in a 
night (Jonah, iv, 10). 

I append a memorandum compiled from the Official 
papers : 

History of Provision of 24 Light-draught Gunboats for 


Note. These Vessels played a great part in the cap- 
ture of Bagdad. 

January 9th, 1915. Telegram from Viceroy to India 
Office that Admiralty be asked to provide 4 gunboats 
draught 4% feet for Tigris. 1 

January llth, 1915. India Office asked Admiralty to 
meet Viceroy's wishes. 

January 29th, 1915. 2 Admiralty Departments sug- 
gested various types. War Staff proposed 3 from Egypt 
be sent. 

January 29th, 1915. Lord Fisher ordered 24 light- 
draught gunboats. In order to save time, Captain [now 
Rear-Admiral Sir S. S.] Hall, R.N., (Lord Fisher's Sec- 
retary) was directed by Lord Fisher to co-operate with 
Mr. Yarrow 8 and carry the operation through without 

1 This shows how badly advised the Navy was by the India Office, as under 
3 feet wai vital, and the order was given accordingly. 

* Eighteen days going through Departments. 

Mr. Yarrow had technical charge of the whole business and was the sole 
designer and there was no paper work whatever. 


reference, to Admiralty Departments or any other De- 

January 29th, 1915. Conference held. Design set- 

T rti i , fCaptain Hall toured the country 

January 30th, 1915. / V1 , J. 

-r^, , ,, - tor likely firms to construct 

February 1st, 1915.1 .. * , 

the 24 gunboats. 

February 2nd, 1915. 5 Proposals made for placing 
orders approved by Lord Fisher and First Lord, and 
orders were placed as follows : 

12 Small by Yarrow. 
4 Large by Barclay Curie. 
2 Large by Lobnitz. 
2 Large by Ailsa Shipbuilding Co. 
2 Large by Wood Skinner. 
2 Large by Sunderland Shipbuilding Co. 

February 8th, 1915. Captain Hall was appointed 
Commodore-in- Charge of the Submarine Service, but was 
directed by Lord Fisher to continue supervision of the 
provision of 24 gunboats. 

Sir Alfred Yarrow ought (like Mr. Schwab) to have 
been made a Duke, and I wrote to Sir John Jellicoe, when 
he was First Sea Lord, and told him so. 

The history of the Flotillas of light-draught gunboats 
built both for Mesopotamia and the Danube will ever be 
associated with the good service done by Sir Alfred Yar- 
row, and for which he was only made a Baronet. Those 
built for the Tigris led our Army to Bagdad and far be- 
yond, and were at times unsupported far ahead of the 
military force; and without any question whatever with- 
out them the Mesopotamian muddle could never have 

*A11 this action on the same day. 

'All the rest of the required action taken in 4 days. 


emerged into a glorious victory. The speed with which 
these vessels were constructed and despatched in small 
parcels to Mesopotamia and there put together in an ex- 
temporary dockyard arranged by Sir Alfred Yarrow's 
staff was as much a feature as any other part of their 
production. It necessitated masses of natives of different 
religious persuasions being gathered together to assist the 
skilled artizans in bolting the pieces together and launch- 
ing them on the Tigris. Their differing hours of prayer 
were a disturbing element in the rapidity of the construc- 
tion ; but my splendid friend the foreman from the Scots- 
toun Yard of Messrs. Yarrow contrived a prayer compro- 
mise. The Danube Flotilla arranged for with a number 
of other builders was equally remarkable ; and Commodore 
(now Admiral) Bartolome wrote me a commendatory let- 
ter of their good service there. 

I must also mention Commodore (now Admiral) Sir 
S. S. Hall, but for whose continual journeys from ship- 
yard to shipyard these vessels would never have been de- 
livered on the scene of action in the time required. Within 
six months all these Flotillas were thought of designed 
built and in service, and nothing gave me intenser delight 
than the visit I paid to these craft as they were all built 
and then taken to pieces for transit to their destination in 
packages that any motor car could have transported. 

The world at large can have little conception of the 
remarkability of those comparatively large hulls with good 
speed and practically drawing but a few inches of water 
the propellers (which were too large in diameter for the 
depth of water) being made by an ingenious device to re- 
volve in a well above the water-line, the water being drawn 
up by suction. I thought to myself as I viewed these 
miracles of ingenuity and rapidity: "England can never 



"I have culled a Garland of Flowers 
Mine is the string that binds them." 

* # * 

Thou shalt not kill, but needst not strive 
Officiously to keep alive ! 

(When catching Submarines). 

* * # 

Seest thou a man diligent in business he shall stand be- 
fore Kings he shall not stand before mean men. 

* * * 

God who cannot be unjust, 
Heedeth all who on Him trust. 
Them who call on Him for aid, 
Anguish shall not make afraid. 
Trust him then in life. In death 
He can give thee Living Breath ! 
After death the Life now thine 

He can make the Life Divine. 

* * * 

I never bother to bother about anyone who doesn't bother 

to bother about me ! 

* * * 

"Put on the impenetrable armour of contempt and forti- 

* * * 

When danger threatens and the foeman nigh, 
"God and our Navy!" is the Nation's cry. 


But, the danger over and the Country righted, 

God is forgotten and the Sailor slighted. 

* * * 

Never fight a Chimney Sweep; some of the soot comes 

off on you. 

* * * 

Pas de Culte sans mystere. 

* * * * 

Ode to an Apple- 
Newton saw an apple fall, 
Eve an apple did enthral; 
It played the devil with us all, 

The Devil making Eve to fall. 

* * * 

"Liberty of Conscience" means doing wrong but not 

worrying about it afterwards. 

* * * 

"Tact" is insulting a man without his knowing it. 

* * * 

Even a man's faults may reflect his virtues. 

* * * 

Sincerity is the road to Heaven. 

* * * 

I thought it would be a good thing to be a missionary, 

but I thought it would be better to be First Sea Lord. 

* * * 

Think in Oceans shoot at sight. 

* * * 

Big conceptions and Quick Decisions. 

* * * 

Napoleonic in Audacity. 
Cromwellian in Thoroughness. 

Nelsonic in Execution. 

* * * 


"Surprise" the pith and marrow of war! 

* * * 

Audacity and Imagination beget surprise. 

* * * 

Rashness in war is Prudence. 

* * # 

Prudence in war is Imbecility. 

Hit first! Hit hard! Keep on hitting!! (The 3 H's). 

* * * 

The 3 Requisites for Success Ruthless, Relentless, Re- 
morseless (The 3 R's). 

* * * 

BUSINESS Call on a Business man in Business hours 
only on Business. Transact your Business and go about 
your Business, in order to give him time to finish his 
Business, and you time to mind your own Business. 
[I had this printed on cards, one of which was handed 

to every caller on me at the Admiralty.] 

* * * 

The Nelsonic Attributes 

(a) Self Reliance. 

(b) Power of Initiative. 

(c) Fearlessness of Responsibility. 

(d) Fertility of Resource. 

* * * 

Originality never yet led to Preferment. 

* * * 

Mediocrity is the Road to Honour. 

* * * 

Repetition is the Soul of Journalism. 

* * * 

No difficulty baffles great zeal. 

* * * 


The Pavement of Life is strewn with Orange Peel. 

* * * 

Inconsistency is the bugbear of Silly Asses. 

* * * 

Never Deny: Never Explain: Never Apologise. 

* * * 

"To defy Power that seems omnipotent . . . 
Never to change, nor falter, nor repent." 


* # * 

Cardinal Rampolla got his Hat at a younger age than 
any preceding Cardinal. Asked to account for his phe- 
nomenal success, he replied: It's due to 3 things: 


* * * 

I never j refused 

The best scale for an experiment is 12 inches to a foot. 

* * * 

Dread Nought is over 80 times in the Bible ("Fear 
Not"). So I took as my motto "Fear God and Dread 


* * * 

Moltke wrote as follows: 

"A clever military leader will succeed in many cases in 
choosing defensive positions of such an offensive nature 
from a strategic point of view that the opponent is com- 
pelled to attack us in them." 

* * * 

In looking through a packet of ancient papers I find some 
youthful thoughts of my own and some others which evi- 
dently I thought very choice. 

"Anything said before a lecture muddles it." 


"Anything after weakens it 1" 

* * * 

"There is nothing you can't have if you want it 


* * * 

The following extract is from Blake : 

"He who bends to himself a joy, 
Does the winged life destroy; 
But he who kisses the joy as it flies 

Lives in Eternity's Sunrise." 

* * * 

Dean Swift satirised the vulgar exclusiveness of those who 
desired the infinite meadows of Heaven only to be fre- 
quented by the religious sect they adorned on earth: 

"We are God's chosen few I 
All others will be damned! 
There is no place in Heaven for you, 

We can't have Heaven crammed!" 

* * * 

Lord Dalling (Sir Henry Bulwer) codified his life in 
axioms and phrases. His intimate friend, Sir Drummond 
Wolff, says so. (By the way, Wolff's father was a mar- 
vellous Bible scholar. I heard him preach the sermon of 
my life: it was extempore, on "The Resurrection." A 
great friend of his told me that Wolff did really know 
the Bible by heart.) These are Lord Dalling's sayings; 
he quotes Talleyrand for one of his rules of life : 

"Acknowledge the receipt of a book from the author 
at once : this relieves you of the necessity of saying whether 
you have read it." 

Again this is excellent : 


"You cannot do anyone more good than by trying 
unsuccessfully to do him an injury." (Mr. Labouchere 
gave me the same reason for attacking me in his paper 

"Nothing is so foolish as to be wise out of season." 
"The best trait in a man's character is an anxiety to 
serve those who have obliged him once and can do so no 

* * * 

Nelson's Ipsissima Verba. 

"Do not imagine I am one of those hot-brained peo- 
ple who fight at an immense disadvantage without an 
adequate object ... in a week's time I shall get rein- 
forcements and the enemy will get none, and then I must 
annihilate him." 

It was not "Victory" that Nelson ever desired. It was 


* * * 

Moses, Gideon and Cromwell. 

Moses and Gideon were each of them summoned straight 
from their simple daily task to go and help their fellow 
countrymen, and both were able to perform the task al- 
lotted to them in spite of their first great doubts of their 
fitness for the work. The figure of Moses looms through 
the Ages as gigantic as the Pyramids, and nearer home 
and in a lesser sphere stands our English Cromwell, the 
Great Protector ! 

"I would have been glad," said Cromwell, "to have 
lived on my woodside or kept a flock of sheep rather 
than have undertaken a government like this." And 
yet in the end he had undertaken it because he said he 

"had hoped he might prevent some imminent evil." 

* * * 



The nine Muses were all women. 

The three Gra % ces were all women. 
* * * 

A great philosopher has stated that a woman can be 
classed under two categories: 

1. A mother, a mistress and a friend; or, 

2. A comrade and queen and child. 

A woman is really rooted in physical reality, and all the 
above six attributes of the philosopher always live in her. 

Thus the Song of Solomon produced a passionate 
commodity, but it required the Mary Magdalene of the 
Gospel to express the summum "bonum of a woman of 
"Greatly Loving." 

In the first prayer book of A.D. 1549 there was a Col- 
lect for her! No other woman had a Collect except the 
Virgin Mary. 

Emotion, self -surrender, selflessness, immortal cour- 
age, wondrous physical beauty! Mary Magdalene was a 
great human reality. It is quite obvious she was no de- 
bauchee or her Beauty would have failed, nor could she 
have been a "hardened" sinner or she would have scoffed! 

What washer history? What caused her lapse? Who 
was her Betrayer? 

"Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she 
loved much. Verily I saw unto you, Wheresoever this 
Gospel shall be preached in the whole world, there shall 
also this, that this woman hath done, be told for a me- 
morial of her." 

And is it not very striking that St. Peter, who dictated 
St. Mark's Gospel, records in the 16th chapter, verse 9, 
of St. Mark, that the first person in the world to whom 


the Saviour showed Himself after His Resurrection was 
Mary Magdalene? 

"Now when Jesus was risen early the first day of the 
week, He appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom 
he had cast seven devils. And she went and told them 
that had been with Him as they mourned and wept. And 
they, when they heard that He was alive and had been 

seen of her, believed not." 

* * * 

A Sun-Dial that I Love. 

Que Dieu eclaire les heures que je perds. 

(May God light up the hours that I fail to light.) 

* * * 

Though hidden yet from all our eyes, 
He sees the Gideon who shall rise 
To save us and His sword. 



IT is stated that the historian, Lecky, O.M. (I assisted 
at the operation of his receiving the Order of Merit) gave 
more thought and time to the book of his last years, "The 
Map of Life," than to any other of all his works, and it 
is said that for three years he kept on revising the last of 
its chapters. 

The book was derided to me by a literary friend of 
great eminence as being "The Pap of Life!" I read its 
last chapters with great avidity. If for nothing else, the 
book is worthy of immortality for the reason that it so 
emphasises those great words of Dryden as being appro- 
priate to the close of a busied life 

"Not Heaven itself upon the past has Power, 
What has been has been, and I have had my hour." 

Whenever (as I often do) I pass Dryden's bust in 
Westminster Abbey I invariably thank him for those lines. 

Mr. Lecky urges his readers to leave the active scenes 
of life in good time and not to "Lag superfluous on the 
Stage" (I believe Mr. Gladstone recommended this also, 
but didn't do it!). 

To illustrate Mr. Lecky we have that great and splen- 
did Trio of Translation to Heaven at the very zenith of 
their powers. Elijah was hurrying along (that great,, 
hairy, weird old man) so that Elisha could hardly keep 
pace with him, and he is suddenly caught up in a Chariot 



of Fire to Heaven! I ask, "Was not Nelson's leaving 
this earth quite a similar glorious departure?" 

"Partial firing continued until 4.30 p.m. when a vic- 
tory having been reported to Admiral Lord Viscount 
Nelson, K.B., and Commander-in-Chief, he THEN died 
of his Wound." 

Moses (with whom I am now more particularly con- 
cerned) also left this life in a 'similar glorious way, for 
God was his companion when his Spirit left this Earth, 
and it markedly is recorded of Moses that 

"His eye was not dim, 
Nor his natural force abated!" 

Mr. Lecky doesn't quote my three men above. I con- 
sider them superior to Noah, Daniel and Job, who are the 
three named in Scripture as being so dear to the pious 
man. Ezekiel, chapter xiv., verse 14. 

I reiterate that the advice of the derided Lecky seems 
to me excellent, to leave active life at one's zenith, and 
thus anticipate senility. 

The Archbishop of Seville is a lovely story by Cer- 
vantes. All Spain came to hear him preach. Indeed he 
had to preach every day, the crowds were so great, and 
he said to his faithful Secretary: "Tell me when you no- 
tice me waning, for a man never knows it himself." The 
Secretary did so, and the Archbishop gave him the sack! 
Yes! The Archbishop had passed the Rubicon, and this 
dismissal was the proof. Having this fear, I left Office 
on my birthday in 1910, though for a few short months 
in 1914 I enjoyed the "dusky hues of glorious war," and 
exceedingly delighted myself in those seven months in 
arranging a new Armada against Germany of 612 ves- 


sels, and in sending Admiral von Spec and all his ships 
to the bottom of the sea. 

The following much-prized lines were sent me on the 
Annihilation of Admiral von Spec's Squadron off the 
Falkland Islands on December 8th, 1914. He had sunk 
Admiral Cradock's Squadron five weeks before. The 
"Dreadnought" Battle Cruisers, "Inflexible" and "In- 
vincible," sent to sink von Spec, made a passage of 14,000 
miles without a hitch and arrived just a few hours before 
von Spec. It was a timely arrangement: 

From the President of Magdalen College, Oxford, Sir 
Herbert Warren (Professor of Poetry). 

Merserat Ex-spe Spem, rediit spes, mergitur Ex-spes. 

"Von Spec sent the 'Good Hope' to the bottom: hope 
revived; he is sunk himself, without hope." 

From Mr. Godley, the Public Orator at Oxford Uni- 

Hoc tibi Piscator Patria debet opus. 

"Your country owes this exploit to you, O Fisher!" 

But that Great Providence, that shapes our course, 
rough hew it how we will, ordained my departure from 
the conduct of the War. Amongst the masses of regret- 
ful letters at my departure I choose one from an Admiral 
then 88 years old, who satisfies the great Dr. Weir 
Mitchell's dictum of the clear brain becoming clearer with 
age. This Admiral annexed a Continent for England, 
abounding in riches in New Guinea; but he got no thanks; 
and England gave away his gift. But his name lives 
there. I conclude with his letter: 



It is marvellous how all variations of our lives are un- 
ravelled by Divine Inspiration that cannot err. 

"No one can 'hustle' Providence." 

(That's one of your sayings!) 

Think of Moses! 

"He was the truest warrior that ever buckled sword. 
He the most gifted Poet that ever breathed a word : 
And never Earth's Philosopher traced with his golden pen, 
On the Deathless Page, truths half so sage as he wrote down for men ; 
Yet no man knows his sepulchre, and no man saw it e'er. 
For the Angels of God up-turned the sod and laid the Dead Man 

Moses saved his people. He prepared them for the 
conquest in which he was to take no part. He was the 
meekest man on earth, yet he could be the most ruthless! 

Doubtless you saved England at the Falkland Islands. 

Doubtless you prepared our Fleet for this war! 

(Nothing to boast of! You the clay in the hands of 
the Potter!) And it seems likely that some Joshua will 
reap what you have sown! Yet history will put it right. 

"O lonely grave in Moab's land ! O dark Beth-Peor's hill ! 
Speak to these curious hearts of ours and teach them to be still! 

Ever faithfully yours, 

(Signed) J. MORESBY. 


Abdul Hamid, 68; the Pope and, 101 

et seq., 203, 204 

Aboukir Bay, French Fleet in, 163 
Adalbert, Prince, 227 
Adams, John, editor of "The New 

Teaching," 245 
Admiralty clerks and the Naval War 

Staff, 110 et seq. 
Aircraft, 130 et seq. 
Alcester, Lord, 145 
Alexandra, Queen, 29, 36, 198, 234 
Alfonso, King, 233, 234, 251 
Americans, 219 et seq. 
Anderson, Mr. J. W. S., 118 
Angell, Mr. Norman, 132, 210 
Arbuthnot, Sir R., 72 
Arnold-Forster, Rt. Hon. H. O., 170, 

172, 180 
Asquith, Rt. Hon. H. H., 56, 63, 70, 

71, 81, 196, 199 


Bacon, Admiral Sir Reginald, 112, 

Baddeley, Mr. V. W., 118 

Balfour, Rt. Hon. A. J., 50, 75, 92, 
183, 209 

Barnaby, Sir Nathaniel, 247, 249; let- 
ter to Lord Fisher, 250 

Barnardo, Dr., 162 

Bartolome', Admiral Sir Charles de, 
112, 262 

Battenberg, Prince Louis of, 169 

Beatty, Lord, 51, 54, 127 

Beilby, Sir George, 123 

Beit, Mr., 22, 48, 49, 183 

Benbow, Admiral, 165 

Bernstorff, Count von, 209 

Bieberstein, Marschall von, 203, 204 

Birdwood, General Sir William R., 

Bismarck, Prince, 226 

"Blucher," sinking of the, 153, 154 

Booth, General, 162 

Borden, Rt. Hon. Sir. R. L., 217 


Botha, General, 141, 256 

Boys, Admiral, 168 

Bridgeman, Admiral Sir Francis, 241, 


Bridgman, Mr., 101 
Bright, John, 39, 108, 221, 223, 225 


Bristol, Marquis of, 251 
Brock, Commander, at Zeebrugge, 


Bryce, Lord, 204 
Buckle, Mr., 182 
Bulwer, Sir Henry, set Bailing, Lord, 

257, 268 
Byron, Lord, 101, 110 

Caillaux, M., 208 

Caldwell, Major-General Sir Charles, 

93, 94 
Callaghan, Admiral Sir George A., 51, 

Campbell-Bannerman, Sir H., 56, 177 

183, 184, 250 

Canning, Sir Stratford, 104 
Carden, Admiral Sir Sackville H., 89, 


Cartagena, 233, 235 
Cavendish, Lady Frederick, 253 
Cawley, Lord, 68 
Cervantes, 272, 273 
Chalmers, Dr., 156 
Choate, Mr., 34 
Churchill, Mr. Winston, 50, 55, 63, 65, 

67, 71, 75, 76, 77, 78, 82, 84, 91, 130, 

133, 184, 196, 198, 205, 206, 211, 213, 


Clark, Mr. Champ, 202 
Clarke, Sir George, 33, 166, 170, 174, 

180, 196 

Clemenceau, M., 208 
Corbett, Sir Julian, 2 n., 109 
Cornwallis, Admiral, 165 
Cradock, Admiral, 140, 141, 273 
Crease, Captain, 112 
Cromer, Lord, 60, 72, 81, 86, 103 
Cromwell, Oliver, 115, 269 




Dalling, Lord, 257, 268 

"Daniell cell," the, 145 

Daniels, Mr. Josephus, 223 

Dardanelles, the, 62 et sq. 

Denbigh, Lord, 27 

Depew, Mr. Chauncey, 222 

Dilke, Sir Charles, 33 

Disraeli, 41, 109 

Dogger Bank incident, the, 76, 82, 


Dryden, 271 

Dumanoir, Admiral, 164 
Dundonald, Lord, 150, 164 

Ellison, General Sir C., 166, 167 

Empress Marie, 198 

Esher, Lord, 23, 29; letter to Lord 
Fisher, 30, 48, 49; Lord Fisher's let- 
ters to, 166 et sq. 

Falkeahayn, General von, 106 
Fisher, Mr. Andrew, 73, 80 
Fitzgerald, Admiral, 256 
Flint, Mr., 117 
Franklin, Benjamin, 164 n 
Frederick the Great, 49 
French, Lord, 69, 70, 80, 170, 173, 175, 


Card, Mr., 128 

Gardiner, Mr. A. G., 66 

Garibaldi, visit of, to the "Warrior," 


Garvin, Mr. J. L., 187 
German Emperor on Lord Fisher, 48, 


Girouard, Sir. E. P. C., 167 
Gladstone, Mr., 55, 56, 239, 252, 253, 

254, 272 

Gladstone, Mrs., 253 
Godley, Mr., 273 
.Goschen, Viscount, 115, 144 
Grand Duke Nicholas, 65, 89 
Granville, Lord, 204 
Greene, Sir Graham, 118 
Grey, Lord, 35, 105, 189, 190, 204 
Grierson, General, 173 
Guazzo, Steven, 49 

Haddock, Commodore, 148, 149 

Haig, Lord, 173 

Haldane, Lord, 110, 112, 114, 208 

Hall, AdmiralSir S. S., 261, 262 

Hall, Admiral W_. H., Ill 

Hall, Rear-Admiral Sir William Reg- 
inald, 95 

Hamilton, Sir Ian, 93, 214 

Hamilton, Lady, 160 

Hamilton, Lord George, 237, 238, 239 

Hankey, Sir Maurice, 70, 75, 85, 194 

Hanotaux, M., 187 

Harcourt, Sir William Vernon, 186, 

Hawke, Admiral Lord, 165 

Hawthorne, 122 

Henderson, Admiral Sir Reginald, 
113 n 

Henderson, Mr. Arthur, 61 

Hertz German submarine mine, the, 
135, 154 

Hertzog, General, 141 

Hildyard, General, 170 

Hindenburg, Field-Marshal von, 85, 

Hood, Admiral Sir Horace, 112 

Hood, Admiral Viscount, 72, 165 

Hornby, Admiral Sir Geoffrey 
Phipps, 76, 77, 82, 102, 225 

House, Colonel, 59 

Howe, Admiral, 165 

Hush Hush ships, 106, 109, 238, 251 

Inge, Dean, 64 

Ingenohl, Admiral von, 47 

Inglefield, Admiral Sir Frederick S., 


Ismay, Mr., 149 
Isvolsky, M., 183, 187, 230 

Jackson, Admiral Sir Henry B., 54 
Jellicoe, Lord, 45, 46, 50, 54, 76, 85, 

115, 207, 209, 262 
Johnson, Abraham, 152, 153 
Jones, Commodore Oliver, 150 

Kelly-Kenny, General, 175 
Kelvin, Lord, 147, 193, 245 et teq. 
Kerr, Lord Walter, 145 



Key, Sir Cooper, 147 

Kiamil Pasha, 102, 104, 235 

Kiel Canal, the, 35, 135, 136 

Kiderlen-Waechter, von, 203 

Kiernan, John, 151, 152 

King Edward, 19 et seq.; letter from 

author to, 21, 22; his tact, 23, 25, 

41, 64, 120, 124, 184, 186, 187, 191, 

192, 198, 199, 202, 206, 210, 223, 224, 

229, 231, 233, 253 
King William, 226 
Kitchener, Lord, 63, 65, 69, 71, 76, 

78, 85, 89, 90, 93, 112, 113, 177, 198, 

199, 236 
Knollys, Sir Francis, 21, 36, 37, 172, 


Knox, Mr. Philander, 204 
Kruger, Paul, 170 
Kuropatkin, M., 187 

Labouchere, Mr. Henry, 257, 259 

Lambert, Mr. George, 259 

Lansdowne, Lord, 92 

Latimer, Bishop, 127 

Law, Mr. Bonar, 92 

Learmonth, Admiral, 137 

Lecky, Rt. Hon. W. E. H., 271, 272 

Leishman, Mr. John G. A., American 

Ambassador to Germany, 203, 204 
Lincoln, Abraham, 254, 255 
Lister, Lord, 244 
Lloyd George, Mr., 67, 68, 70, 91, 136, 

186, 203, 212, 214, 216, 221 
Loubet, President, 29, 232 
Ludendorff, General von, 47, 105, 114 
Lyttelton, Sir N., 76 


McClintock, Admiral Sir Leopold, 147 
McCrea, Mr., 220 
Macgregor, Sir Evan, 118 
McKenna, Mr. Reginald, 55, 57, 58, 

74, 186, 193, 197, 199, 201, 205, 206 
McKenna, Mrs. Reginald, 57 
Mackenzie, Sir Thomas, 73, 74, 81 
Macnamara, Dr. T. J., 56, 58 
Madden, Admiral Sir Charles, 112 
Magee, Archbishop, 154 
Mahan, Admiral, 23, 51, 187, 215 
Maxim, Sir Hiram, 225, 226, 244 
Maxse, Mr. Leo, 183 
Maxwell, General, 173 
Mears, Sir Grimwood, Secretary to 

the Dardanelles Commission, 73 


Merchant Navy, the, 126, 127 

Milne, Mr., 144 

Mitchell, Dr. Weir, 274 

Moltke, Field-Marshal Count, 226, 

227, 267 
Moresby, Admiral J., letter to Lord 

Fisher, 274 

Morgenthau, Mr. H., 94 
Morley, Lord, 215, 255 
Munro, General Sir Charles, 95 
Murray, Mr. George, 199 
Murray, Sir Oswyn, 118 


Naples, Queen of, 160 

Napoleon, 35, 58, 164, 201 

Naval War Staffs and Admiralty 

clerks, 110 et seq. 
Nelson, 35, 41, 43, 64, 77, 113, 115, 

117, 118, 124, 146, 151, 160 et seq. 
Nicholson, Field-Marshal Lord, 76, 95 
Nicholson, Mr. W. F., Ill 
Northbrook, Lord, 159, 160, 239, 240 

O'Connell, Daniel, 253 

Oldenburg, Grand Duke of, 226, 229 

Olga, Grand Duchess, 228, 229; letter 

to Lord Fisher, 230, 231 
Oliver, Admiral Sir Henry, 112 
Orde, Sir John, 239 
Orloff, Prince, 20, 231 

Palmerston, Lord, 202 

Parker, Sir Hyde, 77 

Parsons, Sir Charles, 243 

Pepys, Samuel, 118 

Perrin, Mr. W. G., 118 

Petersen, Mr., 126 

Phillips, Mr. J. F., 118 

Pitt, Mr., 35, '50, 202 

Plumer, General, 47, 173, 175 

Pohl, Admiral von, 44 et seq. 

Pohl, Frau von, 45, 47, 113 

Polsonare family, the, 155 

Pope, the, and^Abdul Hamid, 100 et 

Probyn, Sir Dighton, 36 


Queen Alexandra, 29, 36, 198, 238 
Queen Victoria, 159 

2 7 8 


Rawlinson, Sir Henry, 126 
Redesdale, Lord, letter to Lord 

Fisher, 31 
Reich, Herr von, on "Dreadnoughts, 

31 t teg. 

Reid, Sir George, 199 
Reval, 228 et teq. 
Rhodes, Cecil, 48, 49 
Richmond, Captain, 118 
Ridley, Bishop, 126 
Roberts, Lord, 66, 184 
Roch, Mr. W. F., 74 
Rodney, Admiral, 165 
Roon, Count von, 226 
Roosevelt, Mr., 39 
Rosebery, Lord, 43, 58, 62, 67, 143, 

160, 164, 243 
Rothschild, Lord, 239 
Rousseau, M., 187 
Rozhdestvensky, Admiral, 115 
Runciman, Mr. Walter, 58 
Russia, Emperor of, 191, 245 


St. Vincent, Lord, 181 

Salisbury, Lord, 103, 203 

Sampson, Admiral, 223 

Samuel, Mr. Herbert, 56 

Samuel, Sir Marcus, 123 

Sanders, Marshal Liraan von, 95, 106 

Scapa Flow, 46 

Schreiner, Mr. G. A., 94 

Schwab, Mr., 262 

Schwartzhoff, Gross von, 113, 114, 211 

Scott, Mr. Robert Falconer, 165 n 

Scott, Sir Percy, 243, 244 

Seely, General, 215 

Selborne, Lord, 171, 240, 241 

Shipbuilding, new, inaugurated by 

Lord Fisher, 96 et teq. 
Sinclair, Commodore Hugh Paget, 259 
Slade, General F. G., 175, 176 
Smith, Sir. F. E., 184 
Smith, Sir Thomas, 245 
Smith-Dor rien, General, 170, 173, 175 
Some Personalities, 237 et teq. 
Southey, 243 

Special Missions, some, 226 t teq. 
Spec, Admiral von, 50, 88, 140, 141, 


Spencer, Lord, 237, 239, 240 
Stead, Mr. W. T., 51, 171, 172, 197, 

243, 255, 256, 257 
Stolypin, M., 187, 228, 232, 233 
Stopford, Sir F., 173 

Submarines, Lord Fisher's Memoran- 
dum on, 97, 99 
Swift, Dean, 267 

Taft, Mr., 202 

Tall, Isaac, 154 

Taylor, Bishop Jeremy, 121 

Tennyson-D'Eyncourt, Sir Eustace, 

250, 252 

Thomas, Mr. Holt, 131, 132 
Thompson, Mr., 222 
Thomson, Sir William, see Kelvin, 

Tirpitz, Admiral von, 33, 44 et teq., 

106, 184 

Togo, Admiral, 115 
Treves, Sir Frederick, 253, 245 
Troubridge, Sir Thomas, 158, 163 
Tryon, Sir George, 150 
Tweedmouth, Lord, 23 
Tyrwhitt, Sir Reginald Yorke, 171 

Villa Vieja, Marquis de, 230 


Walker, Sir Charles, 118 

Warburton, Eliot, 43 

War Council Meetings, Lord Fisher's 
notes of his special intervention at, 
88 et seq. 

Ward, Sir Joseph, 193 

Warren, Sir Herbert, 272 

Washington, George, 221, 224 

Watts, Dr., 121 

Watts, Sir Philip, 187, 250, 252 

Weymouth, Admiral, 128 

White, Mr. Arnold, 256 

White, Sir William, 104 

Wilmot, Admiral Sir S. Eardley, let- 
ter to Lord Fisher, 134 

Wilson, Mr. A. K., 199, 205 

Wilson, Sir Arthur, 110, 183, 194, 195, 
197, 200, 241, 242 

Wilson, Mr. Havelock, 126 

Wilson, President, 202, 220 

Wolff, Sir Drummond, 225 

Woolward, Captain Robert, 148 

Yarrow, Sir Alfred, 123, 260 t teq. 
Yelveiton, Sir Hastings, 228 

Zeebrugge, 63, 70, 86, 89, 91, 126 



This book is due on the last date stamped below. 

27 '60' 


WOV 71972 

Book Slip-15m-8,'58( 5890s4)4280 


631 Ocean Boutevard 
Coronado, California 







UCLA-College Library 

DA 89.1 F5A2 1920 v.1 

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